$54M for dealing with crime and wildfires across northern Saskatchewan

Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale announced up to $54 million for community safety initiatives in northern Saskatchewan. Phillip Bollman / Global News

Six projects dealing with crime prevention and natural disaster mitigation in northern Saskatchewan will receive up to $54 million from the Canadian government.

The funding announcement was made on April 23 in Prince Albert.

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Up to $1.2 million over two years is earmarked for Ile-à-la Crosse, Pelican Lake First Nation, and Witchekan Lake First Nation to help strengthen their capacity to cope more effectively with youth crime.

Each of these three communities will have access to $400,000 to assess their vulnerability to threats, such as gangs, to prepare response plans as well as muster the resources to implement them.

Over $40.2 million was also announced from the federal government toward two wildfire mitigation projects.

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Roughly half will help SaskPower upgrade its electrical power distribution network and clear or maintain up to 10,000 hectares of forested area, thus mitigating the risk of fires. The Crown corporation is expected to make a matching investment.

The other half of the $40.2 million will support 141 fuel mitigation initiatives to help protect 85 far-flung communities from wildfire threats. The remaining $15,370,575 for this project will be funded by the province, SaskPower and municipal governments.

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“Prevention is at the heart of creating safer communities,” Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a press release.

“By investing in projects to prevent crime and mitigate the impacts of climate change, we are building community capacity and resilience, and we are better positioning communities to better withstand, combat and recover from future natural disasters.”

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Lastly, $12.5 million will support improvements along over 50 kilometres of Highway 55, east of Carrot River.

Federal officials said the highway is in poor condition and structurally deficient in a flood-prone area, resulting in delays, detours, potential isolation and public safety risks.

“Our government is committed to protecting our critical infrastructure,” Carrot River Valley MLA Fred Bradshaw said in a press release.

“This is especially true on the Highway 55 corridor where there is a lack of available detour routes. Improvements to Highway 55 will also boost our economy, especially in the forestry sector.”

The Saskatchewan government is expected to make a matching investment for the highway’s improvements.

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