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Infrastructure still biggest need: Atchison

Watch above: The mayors of Canada’s biggest cities met in Toronto where they called for a new era of cooperation. Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison highlights some of the topics that were discussed. 

SASKATOON – Fresh from the Big Cities Summit in Toronto, Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison says infrastructure is the biggest need of cities across the country.

“It’s huge,” Atchison told Global News. “I don’t think there’s a city in Canada that doesn’t talk about the wants and needs that they have.” The list includes everything from better roads and bridges to transit and housing.

“It doesn’t matter where you go in Canada – its roadways, its bridges, its water, its sewer, its transit, its housing … everywhere, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

“Here in Saskatoon there’s still so much more that we need to do.”

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READ MORE: Canada’s big city mayors to talk transit, infrastructure at Toronto meeting

At the end of yesterday’s summit, the mayors of Canada’s 18 largest cities put out a communiqué that calls for federal parties to work with cities to solve the economic challenges faced by the country.

“Cities are the economic drivers of the nation,” said Atchison. “We need to partner with other levels of government to ensure our citizens have the services and the quality of life they need.”

The big city mayors called for specific goals, such as focusing on cutting commute times, and sustainable levels of infrastructure investment across all levels of government.

Along with a long term plan to make housing more affordable.

“What the country really needs is to have strong, viable cities,” said Atchison. He says Saskatoon is recognized as having the best housing program in Canada. It involves partnering with the private sector and other levels of government.

“In the last five years we’ve created 2,534 homes and apartments,” he said, adding they hope to create another 5,000 over the next ten years.

Atchison says the city’s affordable housing program is being adopted elsewhere, including Manitoba.

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