© Herald file photos
Prince Albert Carlton MLA and Prince Albert Northcote MLA Victoria Jurgens.
With the spring session ending on Thursday, Prince Albert MLAs Victoria Jurgens and Darryl Hickie are looking at a summer in their constituencies.
Prior to the fall sitting‚Äôs Oct. 22 start, both MLAs are keen on receiving as much public feedback as possible regarding priorities and direction.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre going to be out there continuing to engage with the people and find out any new directions they want us to go, and will continue to just consult with the people,‚ÄĚ Jurgens said on Thursday afternoon, shortly after the spring season was capped in Regina.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm engaged, like Victoria is, with our constituents on a regular basis,‚ÄĚ Hickie said.
‚ÄúI do most of my work as an MLA when I‚Äôm shopping about town,‚ÄĚ he added. ‚ÄúPeople are very forward coming up to me asking me to clarify points or if there‚Äôs a point they have that‚Äôs a concern they want to talk about it.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs nice to be recognized and approached like that.‚ÄĚ
Reflecting on the spring session, Jurgens said that her key takeaway was the $2 million allocated for planning the renewal of the Victoria Hospital.
Using a P3 efficiency model, front line staff is helping in building‚Äôs re-design, Jurgens explained.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre targeting the emergency entrance area first, and we‚Äôll see as time rolls out what progresses,‚ÄĚ she said, with Hickie noting that the planning stage is a continuous project over the next year or so.
A priority of Jurgens‚Äô since she was first elected, the Victoria Hospital rejuvenation joins the local reduction of crime as success stories thus far in her political career.
Continued funding and expansion of Prince Albert‚Äôs Community Mobilization crime prevention model ‚Äúshows the leadership that Prince Albert has shown,‚ÄĚ she said.
The province is set to house 15 Hubs and three Centres of Responsibility ‚Äď both of which link various agencies together to tackle issues in a holistic manner.
The Hub table meets to tackle individual issues or concerns, and the Centre of Responsibility takes on larger-picture issues.
We‚Äôre going to be out there continuing to engage with the people and find out any new directions they want us to go, and will continue to just consult with the people. Victoria Jurgens
For Hickie, the non-partisan traffic safety committee he chaired last summer has proven a resounding success, with the government following through on every one of their recommendations.
‚ÄúToughening up the laws around drinking and driving -- that‚Äôs important,‚ÄĚ he said, adding that additional penalties for texting and driving and a tightening up of the graduated licencing program are also rolling out.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs all just good common sense change so we can try and make a change in the fatality numbers in our province,‚ÄĚ he concluded.
Looking toward the fall session, Jurgens and Hickie agreed that it will be dictated in part by what they hear from constituents this summer, but that a focus on the economy will be front and centre.
This week‚Äôs announcement that the Big River saw mill is reopening and employing up to 100 workers comes as a good sign of forest industry growth, Jurgens said.
‚ÄúThis really shows a strength in the renewal of the forest industry -- actually, across Canada, but we‚Äôre so pleased to have Carrier invest in our region and our province, because as you know we‚Äôre surrounded to the north of us with forest.‚ÄĚ
Although it‚Äôs a private enterprise, Hickie said that the government has opened up the forest management agreement over the past few years for negotiations to allocate more cut to companies who are interested in growing the industry.
‚ÄúTo find that there‚Äôs more opportunity than any time before is very positive,‚ÄĚ Hickie concluded. ‚ÄúOur government is maintaining that forward-thinking agenda ‚Ä¶ to ensure we have every opportunity for the people of this province and Prince Albert and area to do very well with our economy.‚ÄĚ
The Daily Herald will seek Saskatchewan NDP response to the spring session on Friday for Saturday's edition.