Prince Albert bridge debate continues at the legislative assembly

Staff ~ The Prince Albert Daily Herald
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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.

 

“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,” Belanger said.

During his brief remarks, Belanger also questioned the government’s 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.

“What will it take for this government to start paying attention to the needs of Saskatoon and Prince Albert?”

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.

“We’ve indicated that if there are going to be funds needed for 2015-16, we’re going to be an active player with all the other partners.”

“It’s a real shame that the Saskatchewan Party MLAs from Prince Albert and Saskatchewan Rivers are so ineffective that they can’t even get Prince Albert onto this government’s radar,” Belanger responded, drawing attention to Krawetz’s 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; “One thing I won’t let drop off the table is we need a second bridge as we continue to grow. And I will push hard.”

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

“We haven’t seen her push hard at all for that bridge,” Belanger said. “Neither 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. They’ve all been very silent.

“I 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?”

Keeping true to the conversation to that point, Krawetz’s response failed to mention Prince Albert’s bridge situation, instead focusing on the government’s $2 million contribution toward a study at the Victoria Hospital to determine future needs.

Earlier this month, Prince Albert Carlton MLA Darryl Hickie addressed Saskatoon’s bridge funding request as it relates to Prince Albert’s.

“As the MLA of Prince Albert Carlton, I recognize why Saskatoon’s needs will be addressed,” he told the Daily Herald.

“Moving 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.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, Saskatchewan Party MLAs, Victoria Hospital

Geographic location: Saskatoon, Northern Saskatchewan, North Saskatchewan River Shellbrook Canada

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  • Rev. Dr. Don Doherty
    March 28, 2014 - 16:04

    Anyone with half a clue can see the PA bridge has had serious problems. Saskatoon can ask for and get more bridges than it actually needs, but ensuring a viable link to the North through Prince Albert doesn't seem a priority. Yes, focus on the hospital in Prince Albert but, if the bridge link goes down, it will be difficult to access the hospital from the North. A second bridge as an obvious safety factor and relief for the crumbling existing structure is a moot point, a no-brainer. What is wrong with this provincial government?

    • TreeClimber2000
      March 28, 2014 - 17:30

      By all means lets have another bridge built for P.A. Everyone wants a second bridge. I think all the taxpayers of the city and surrounding area are very willing to pay increased taxes on the cities share of at least $50 million. As well businesses in P.A will be very happy to have more free time on their hands when the majority of traffic coming from north to south and south to north, both winter and summer, will now gladly go around the city to get to their destination. No more having to stop in the city. But it will definitely be better because now we will never have to worry about the off chance of the Dief going completely down and having heavy traffic rerouted. Pros and Cons, they both will come into play.