It’s not often we have the opportunity to praise the federal government for initiatives that will greatly help western provinces. 

 However, we learned earlier this month that Saskatchewan – and our industry in particular – will likely be the main beneficiary in a $10-billion commitment from the feds to support irrigation projects.

This $10 billion infrastructure plan aimed at the prairie provinces will span the next three years, with approximately $1.5 billion expected to result in 700,000 acres of irrigated land. It’s also expected to create 60,000 jobs.

The Lake Diefenbaker irrigation project is a top candidate to receive federal support. And our members are expected to play a major role in the development of this project for years to come. 

Our provincial government announced earlier this year it plans to spend 10 years working on the project that would allow farmers to irrigate 500,000 acres here.

It’s no secret that both the federal and provincial governments believe our industry is critical to spurring the economy and pulling us out from this funk caused by the pandemic. 

Combine this funding from the federal government with a record $437.4 million in tendered projects announced last month by the provincial government. That’s a full plate for our members.

Obviously, this is great news for our industry as it assures there’s work to be done for the foreseeable future. Both the federal and the provincial governments deserve praise. 

However, there’s cautious optimism with this inflated tender schedule. I’ve been stressing this point to government for several weeks. 

Expediting the awarding of contracts is incredibly important in allowing contractors to bid responsibly. Our members take on an extreme amount of risk during a routine construction season. But this year is anything but routine.

Tenders need to be awarded quickly with as little delay as possible and the work absolutely needs to be sequenced rather than it being a free-for-all delivery that would create unnecessary havoc.

The government listened when we lobbied to invest in our industry and increase our workload to spur the economy. Here’s hoping they listen when we relay the message of the importance of sequencing the glut of these tenders.