Prince Albert bridge resolution rejected by SUMA, again

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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A second bridge resolution the City of Pricne Albert proposed was killed before reaching the SUMA convention, which is set for February.

For the second year in a row, the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association has rejected a resolution of support for a second river crossing at Prince Albert.

 

Just as last year’s resolution was, this year’s attempt was killed before it reached the annual convention, where member municipalities would have voted on whether to endorse it, adding clout to the city’s bridge request.

“SUMA’s bylaws are quite clear that the resolution floor is not to entertain local priorities,” SUMA CEO Laurent Mougeot explained.

“We don’t want to have every municipality bring their own local projects to the floor … We’ve got about 450 members.”

The resolution put to SUMA this time around did a better job of putting the second river crossing request in a regional context than last year’s effort, Mougeot said, but the wording still needs some work.

The resolution proposed by Prince Albert’s elected officials reads as follows, minus the preamble;

“Be it resolved that the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association support the resolution endorsing the immediate need to construct a second river crossing at Prince Albert and that the need be prioritized as immediate and forwarded to the Minister of Highways and Transportation and the Federal Minister of Trade and Infrastructure.”

The key objection has to do with its wording around prioritization, Mougeot said.

“The setting it as a top priority or an emergent priority for the province is … a concern,” he said. “There are other municipalities under boil water advisories and are working on their water plants, and those are significant priority projects.”

I think the board of directors was concerned that identifying this project as a key priority in the context of other projects is something that’s difficult to do. Laurent Mougeot

SUMA’s intent is to advocate for Saskatchewan urban municipalities as a whole, Mougeot clarified.

“I think the board of directors was concerned that identifying this project as a key priority in the context of other projects is something that’s difficult to do,” he concluded.

Disappointed with SUMA’s decision, the city’s elected officials rescinded their resolution during Monday’s city council meeting.

“SUMA continues to struggle on who they represent,” Mayor Greg Dionne said after Monday’s meeting. “So, instead of trying to wordsmith it and push the issue through, we had a talk among councillors and we decided to pull it.”

A second river crossing near Prince Albert should be prioritized, Dionne said, adding that next year’s kick of the can will come endorsed by “hundreds of letters” of support from northern communities affected by the Diefenbaker bridge’s 2011 to 2012 weight and lane restrictions that came as a result of a crack found on one of its girders.

The next eligible SUMA convention that a bridge resolution can come forward will be in early 2015.

Organizations: Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association, Prince Albert, Federal Minister of Trade and Infrastructure

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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