REGINA – Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall says the province’s plan to build schools through public-private partnerships (P3s) would be scrapped if the bid process didn’t draw enough competition.
Wall told reporters Thursday he doesn’t expect to follow Alberta’s move in canceling a round of P3 school builds, which is estimated to save that province $14 million.
Saskatchewan is planning nine new joint-use schools with a P3 funding model.
Wall says the government is ‘sounding the market’ to see what will draw the most competitive bids on the project.
“That issue in Alberta was driven, principally, because you only had one bidder,” Wall said. “If that happened to us on any of these, we wouldn’t go ahead with a project (as a public-private partnership.)”
“We need to make sure it’s competitive to keep prices down, to drive innovation on the part of the proponents.”
NDP education critic Trent Wotherspoon said in June the decision in Alberta proves P3s are more costly in the long-run, and called for the government to pull the plug on that model in Saskatchewan.
SaskBuilds CEO Rupen Pandya responded, saying the projects in Alberta were more geographically dispersed and may have been less attractive to bidders.
The nine schools are slated to be built in Regina, Saskatoon, Warman and Martensville.