New schools, hospitals included in Saskatchewan budget

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WATCH: Saskatchewan invests in classrooms and healthcare as funding for new schools and hospitals is set out in the provincial budget – Mar 20, 2019

The Saskatchewan government said it will be investing in new schools and hospitals as part of its infrastructure funding announcement in the 2019-20 budget.

Preconstruction design will start on a new Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert, and for the planning and design of a new hospital in Weyburn.

Greg Dionne, the mayor of Prince Albert, says the funding is an exciting and long-awaited announcement.

“[Prince Albert Victoria Hospital] is always at capacity,” Dionne said. “We service the north for recreation, health and education. We are the service centre so we get quite a few people from the north.”
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A combined $5 million will go towards the two projects as both enter the final stages of approval.

READ MORE: ‘The right balance’: Saskatchewan delivers balanced budget

A new long-term care facility is planned for Meadow Lake to replace the Northland Pioneers Lodge. Officials said once complete, capacity will increase from 55 to 72 beds.

The province is allocating $12 million to start construction on the project in spring 2020.

Planning will start on consolidating and replacing École St. Puis X and Argyle elementary schools in Regina with a joint-use school.

“It is nice to see that some of the oldest and [most tired] facilities are being recognized in today’s budget,” said Shawn Davidson, Saskatchewan School Boards Association president.

Also in the planning stage will be one new joint-use schools in Moose Jaw to replace Scared Heart, St. Mary’s, Empire and Westmount.

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Education minister Gordon Wyant says the government followed the school division’s lead when it came to the new build.

“The school division thought that a four-school amalgamation, given the numbers in those schools, made the most sense as opposed to building two facilities,” Wyant said.

Funding is also allocated to determine the scope of a replacement for St. Frances Elementary school in Saskatoon.

READ MORE: No funding increase in provincial budget for Saskatchewan’s universities

The province also said $29 million will go towards ongoing major school consolidation projects in Rosthern and Weyburn.

“We’ve seen the government continue to invest in our existing facilities as they continue to enhance preventative maintenance and renewal funding in each budget,” said Davidson, adding it’s encouraging to see the new infrastructure projects announced.

Overall, the government said it is delivering $2.7 billion in infrastructure funding for 2019-20.

SaskPower plans on spending $873 million on capital investments, and will continue to renew its distribution and transmission lines with a goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.

SaskTel will be investing $321 million during 2019-20, which will including upgrades to its wireless and wireline networks, and enhancements to rural service.

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SaskEnergy said it will make $340 million in capital investments to meet growing customer demand, and ensure the integrity of its distribution system.

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