© Herald file photo
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‚Äôs resolution was, this year‚Äôs 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‚Äôs bridge request.
‚ÄúSUMA‚Äôs bylaws are quite clear that the resolution floor is not to entertain local priorities,‚ÄĚ SUMA CEO Laurent Mougeot explained.
‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt want to have every municipality bring their own local projects to the floor ‚Ä¶ We‚Äôve got about 450 members.‚ÄĚ
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‚Äôs effort, Mougeot said, but the wording still needs some work.
The resolution proposed by Prince Albert‚Äôs elected officials reads as follows, minus the preamble;
‚ÄúBe 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.‚ÄĚ
The key objection has to do with its wording around prioritization, Mougeot said.
‚ÄúThe setting it as a top priority or an emergent priority for the province is ‚Ä¶ a concern,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThere are other municipalities under boil water advisories and are working on their water plants, and those are significant priority projects.‚ÄĚ
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‚Äôs difficult to do. Laurent Mougeot
SUMA‚Äôs intent is to advocate for Saskatchewan urban municipalities as a whole, Mougeot clarified.
‚ÄúI think the board of directors was concerned that identifying this project as a key priority in the context of other projects is something that‚Äôs difficult to do,‚ÄĚ he concluded.
Disappointed with SUMA‚Äôs decision, the city‚Äôs elected officials rescinded their resolution during Monday‚Äôs city council meeting.
‚ÄúSUMA continues to struggle on who they represent,‚ÄĚ Mayor Greg Dionne said after Monday‚Äôs meeting. ‚ÄúSo, instead of trying to wordsmith it and push the issue through, we had a talk among councillors and we decided to pull it.‚ÄĚ
A second river crossing near Prince Albert should be prioritized, Dionne said, adding that next year‚Äôs kick of the can will come endorsed by ‚Äúhundreds of letters‚ÄĚ of support from northern communities affected by the Diefenbaker bridge‚Äôs 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.