© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
The perceived need for a second river crossing at Prince Albert remains a point of contention raised by Saskatchewan NDP members at the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan NDP deputy whip Buckley Belanger faced off with Sask. Party finance minister Ken Krawetz on the Prince Albert bridge issue on Thursday.
âAll of northern Saskatchewan needs P.A. to have a second bridge because 80 per cent of us travelling the north goes through Prince Albert,â Belanger said.
During his brief remarks, Belanger also questioned the governmentâs commitment to a north bridge in Saskatoon, which that city has requested and for which Belanger noted the province does not have dollars attached to funding.
âWhat will it take for this government to start paying attention to the needs of Saskatoon and Prince Albert?â
In Saskatoon, the municipality is currently looking at the possibility of a P3, with the federal government, the municipality and the province funding the project, Krawetz responded.
âWeâve indicated that if there are going to be funds needed for 2015-16, weâre going to be an active player with all the other partners.â
âItâs a real shame that the Saskatchewan Party MLAs from Prince Albert and Saskatchewan Rivers are so ineffective that they canât even get Prince Albert onto this governmentâs radar,â Belanger responded, drawing attention to Krawetzâs failure to mention the Prince Albert bridge request.
Pulling a quote from a Prince Albert Daily Herald article dating back to Nov., 2011, Belanger asserted that Prince Albert Northcote MLA Victoria Jurgens appears to have made a commitment to push for a second North Saskatchewan River crossing in Prince Albert.
The quote reads; âOne thing I wonât let drop off the table is we need a second bridge as we continue to grow. And I will push hard.â
All of northern Saskatchewan needs P.A. to have a second bridge because 80 per cent of us travelling the north goes through Prince Albert. Buckley Belanger
âWe havenât seen her push hard at all for that bridge,â Belanger said. âNeither has the member from Prince Albert Carlton, or the member from Saskatchewan Rivers, or the member from Batoche, or the member from Shellbrook, and the list goes on. Theyâve all been very silent.
âI realize that the P.A. and area MLAs are not strong voices, but why is this government still completely ignoring this very important need for Prince Albert and northern Saskatchewan?â
Keeping true to the conversation to that point, Krawetzâs response failed to mention Prince Albertâs bridge situation, instead focusing on the governmentâs $2 million contribution toward a study at the Victoria Hospital to determine future needs.
Earlier this month, Prince Albert Carlton MLA Darryl Hickie addressed Saskatoonâs bridge funding request as it relates to Prince Albertâs.
âAs the MLA of Prince Albert Carlton, I recognize why Saskatoonâs needs will be addressed,â he told the Daily Herald.
âMoving forward, I also want to express the fact that this P3 concept is very exciting and it does open up opportunities, coupled with the federal budget release of building Canada fund money, that may be available in the future. I know that, with all due respect, the hospital is a higher priority for the government at this time so we moved forward on that first.â