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What’s new to Saskatchewan in 2021-22 budget

Highlighted in the Saskatchewan budget is a $1.4M investment for a new STARS helicopter, and funding for new elementary schools in Weyburn, Regina, and Saskatoon. File / Global News

The Saskatchewan government highlighted many new projects Tuesday afternoon as it unveiled its 2021-22 budget.

Read more: Saskatchewan projects 4 more years of deficits in 2021-22 budget

$1.4M towards new STARS helicopter

STARS Air Ambulance will be receiving $1.4 million for a new helicopter.

In total, the Saskatchewan government has contributed $11.88 million to STARS with this new funding.

Read more: Canadian gov’t invests $65M for 5 new STARS helicopters

STARS has been working to replace its aging fleet of BK117 and AW139 helicopters with nine new medically equipped H145 Airbus helicopters. The province had announced in December 2018 that it would pay for one of three new helicopters needed in Saskatchewan.

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Click to play video: 'STARS air ambulance and the SJHL partnering for fundraising initiative' STARS air ambulance and the SJHL partnering for fundraising initiative
STARS air ambulance and the SJHL partnering for fundraising initiative – Dec 20, 2019

Each of the new aircraft costs $13 million.

Funding for long-term care facilities

A total of $3.6 million is allocated for the future Grenfell long-term care facility and an additional $7.6 million for the 80-bed La Ronge facility.

The 2021-22 budget also includes $550,000 for planning-stage investment for new Watson and Estevan long-term care facilities, as well as $500,000 to replace long-term care beds in Regina.

Read more: Saskatchewan investing $80M for new long-term care facilities, upgrades

The government also set aside $6 million to hire around 100 continuing-care aides to help long-term care clients with personal care, meals and medication.

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This is the first part of its three-year, $18.4-million campaign promise to hire 300 continuing-care aides to work in long-term care, and existing home-care services in rural and remote areas.

 

Funding for new schools in Weyburn, Regina, Saskatoon

Part of the government’s $189.9 million set aside for education is $101.9 million to fund 21 ongoing capital projects, including 16 new schools and five renovated ones.

This funding includes finishing construction of a new elementary school in Weyburn, set to open this fall, and beginning construction on a new joint-use facility with two elementary schools in Regina to replace Argyle and St. Pius elementary schools.

Also planned is completing design and starting construction as early as next spring on a new elementary school in Saskatoon to replace Princess Alexandra, King George and Pleasant Hill schools; a new elementary school replacing St. Frances Elementary in Saskatoon; a new francophone elementary school in Regina; and a new joint-use facility with two elementary schools in Harbour Landing in Regina.

 

$52M towards new remand centre in Saskatoon

A total of $52 million of the government’s budget will go towards construction of the remand centre at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.

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In June, the province said it would fund a $120-million remand centre expansion as part of its $7.5-billion two-year capital plan.

Read more: Petition calls for rethink of expansion at Saskatoon Correction Centre

The new facility will consist of two units with 216 cells, capable of holding 427 people.

 

Lake Diefenbaker expansion project 

The province has earmarked $70.1 million to maintain and upgrade dams and canals, and $18.9 million for Phase 1 of the Lake Diefenbaker irrigation expansion — a multi-year project expected to cost $4.0 billion.

Read more: Saskatchewan government studying Lake Diefenbaker canal expansion

First announced by Premier Scott Moe in July, the government’s goal is to double the amount of irrigable land in Saskatchewan, irrigating up to 500,000 acres from Lake Diefenbaker.

Read more: Saskatchewan moving ahead with $4B irrigation project at Lake Diefenbaker

Construction is expected to take place over the next 10 years in three main phases.

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