Area municipalities affirm interest in regional projects

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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City Hall

Just because the city’s elected officials are prepared to fund something through city coffers doesn’t mean area municipalities have the same ability.

 

Such is the case with Pineview Terrace Lodge long-term care facility -- a regional health care project that a handful of area municipalities have declined to fund their full requested amount for.

At Monday’s city council meeting, the city’s elected officials criticized area municipalities for declining to fund the facility to the total tune of almost $200,000.

“Let’s put their names right out there in the public,” Coun. Martin Ring encouraged on Monday. “Some of them are very close neighbours of ours that are using our services.”

Unwilling to get into an unproductive back-and-forth with the city’s elected officials, Village of St. Louis Mayor Les Rancourt noted that city council’s comments came without getting feedback from area municipalities.

Every municipality comes with its unique challenges, and the Village of St. Louis’ key challenge has been building a new sewer plant.

“We’re in kind of a financial situation to come up with $41,000 at the drop of a dime isn’t something we can do with our small tax base,” Rancourt said.

“There was really no consultation for us even to prepare for that when they first came to us to ask us for our support.

“The project was already pretty much underway before they came and started requesting funding, and now they’re saying they’re going to pressure us into or force us into or whatever means, but at the end of the day, if we don’t have the resources, we don’t have them.”

The Village of Meath Park, which declined to pay its $17,422 share, was under similar financial constraints, Mayor Tristan Wood said.

Although he wasn’t mayor a few years ago when the decision as made not to chip in for the Pineview Terrace Lodge, Wood said that he understands why previous village council declined.

We’re in kind of a financial situation to come up with $41,000 at the drop of a dime isn’t something we can do with our small tax base. Les Rancourt

“It was out of their budget at the time,” he summarized.

Village coffers remain tapped out this year as a result of recent upgrades to the village sewer system, he said.

“It was a little more money than we anticipated, but we had to do it and we got it done, so that’s why we’re not taking on anything too big at this time,” he explained.

Both Wood and Rancourt affirm their interest in helping fund regional projects, whenever it’s financially feasible.

“We’re 100 per cent behind anything that’s helping the community as a whole, but (only) if there are ways to work together on it,” Rancourt said. “It would have to be over a period of time that’s comfortable for our council.”

The city’s elected officials are currently eyeing the possibility of at least two major regional projects, including a new or renewed Victoria Hospital and a second North Saskatchewan River crossing.

The Pineview Terrace Lodge is a 60-room long-term care facility that opened earlier this year at the city’s Victoria Hospital property.

The provincial government paid for 80 per cent of the $22.8-million facility and the City of Prince Albert and surrounding municipalities were to share the 20 per cent balance.

The city’s $3.3 million contribution was funded through a property tax levy that as of this year has raised its intended $2 million. An additional $1.3 million came from the Holy Family Hospital Reserve (also called the Civic Facilities Reserve).

Organizations: Victoria Hospital, Holy Family Hospital Reserve, Civic Facilities Reserve

Geographic location: St. Louis, Meath Park, North Saskatchewan River Prince Albert

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