(8 Nov 2012)
Investing in Infrastructure
Investing in infrastructure was identified as priority in our government’s recently-announced growth plan. If we’re going to grow our population to 1.2 million by 2020, we need to take action now to ensure we have the infrastructure to support that bold goal.
Last week, our government released fall tenders for Highway and Infrastructure construction; this is the first phase in preparing for the 2013 construction year. This tender includes 40 projects made up of 19 construction contracts, eight bridges, culverts and more at an estimated cost of $172.8 million. By starting early with the tendering phase, we can potentially start construction earlier in 2013.
The growth plan is also based on the principle of fiscal responsibility and balancing priorities to continue to move the province forward. Saskatchewan has seen significant growth; we have approximately 80,000 more people in the province. With growth come new challenges. In liquor retailing, we have areas in the province that are currently underserved. In order to meet those challenges, the decision was made to partner with the private sector on two stores in Saskatoon and one in Regina. This decision means the government will not have to invest in the capital infrastructure of the new stores, and will continue to allow the province to prioritize issues pertaining to education, healthcare, highways, all while meeting the needs of the customer.
One of the underlying themes of the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth is using the benefits of growth to improve the quality of life. To that end, our government recently announced we are providing $350,000 in capital funding and will invest $98,000 a year in operational funding. This funding will enable Saskatchewan Abilities Council to expand its existing facility in Regina and launch a new Quality of Life day program. The program concentrates on providing community-based opportunities to improve existing skills while facilitating the learning of new skills and providing support to the changes in the lives of participants. Our goal to make Saskatchewan the best place in Canada for people with disabilities to live. This initiative is part of Government’s multi-year commitment to the 440 person waitlist for people with intellectual disabilities who need specialized, residential and day programs. We are well on the way to eliminating that waitlist by March 2013.
One of the challenges of a growing economy is ensuring people have a safe place to work. To that end, our government has introduced a regulatory change to improve safety for late night retail workers. The new regulations include:
These regulations are now in effect.
- Establishing safe cash-handling procedures;
- Installing video cameras;
- Providing good visibility and signage for all late-night retail premises;
- Establishing a check-in system; and
- Providing personal emergency transmitters to all workers working alone in late-night retail establishment.
Putting the safety of working people first will not only ensure Saskatchewan’s economy continues to grow, it’s the right thing to do.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Ken.
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