Saskatchewan gov’t says funding issues with Ottawa puts projects in jeopardy

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan reveals a new rendering for its redeveloped site along Saskatoon’s riverbank. Group 2 Architects / Supplied

The Saskatchewan government is asking Ottawa to reallocate federal tax dollars so it can move forward on three projects.

In a letter to Regina MP and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, provincial ministers Gordon Wyant and Warren Kaeding pointed out three cultural infrastructure projects that could be in trouble if funding wasn’t made available.

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The letter also said the federal government is being unresponsive to the province’s request to reallocate funds as to the terms in their Integrated Bilateral Agreement.

The Gordie Howe Bowl, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan and Regina’s Globe Theatre are the proposals the government said need to get underway this construction season.

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Last October, the province signed a deal with Ottawa that offered $896 million in federal funding over 10 years for infrastructure projects.

Those projects were split into four different categories:

  • $308 million for public transit;
  • $416 million for green infrastructure;
  • $56 million for community, cultural and recreational infrastructure (CCR); and
  • $116 million for rural and northern infrastructure.

The deal allowed money to be moved as governments saw fit so it best fits their needs.

The letter read the total project costs for the three projects Saskatchewan wants to move forward with is $51.9 million.

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The concern for the province is that it will deplete the funding set aside for CCR projects.

“The province stands prepared to fund those projects. They’re cost-shared agreements or cost-shared projects. The provincial government stands prepared to fund those. From the provincial perspective, we just need to make sure that we get the proper allocation from the federal government,” Wyant said.

However, Goodale said the agreement restricts moving funding into the CCR category for the first three years.

“You could move money from transit to the green fund or you could move money from transit to the rural fund. Those were the two transfers that could take place in the short term before three years,” he said.

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On top of that, Goodale added that these streams would only pay for 40 per cent of the project’s cost, so there would still be funding available if all three of Saskatchewan’s CCR projects totalled $51.9 million.

The federal funding for all three would add up to $20.7 million.

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