by Shantel Lipp Shantel Lipp
Shantel Lipp - Portrait

We are another month closer to the construction season getting underway. As you get ready for the projects you will work on this season, our board is preparing for a meeting we would love to have you attend.

A special meeting will be held in Saskatoon on April 24 to outline the priorities of SHCA. Members are invited to register to attend this event. Please get in touch with our office about registering –  we will be providing our membership regular updates on these priorities as well as future meetings we will hold.

Our priorities are related to current developments in our province and country. I keep a close eye on issues relevant to our industry, to understand them while also advocating for our members’ interests.  

One issue coming to the forefront of public attention is housing. The federal government is looking ahead to an election next year as Canadians express their frustration at the lack of housing and the cost of what is available.  

We need to build more homes in our country, but recent announcements by the federal government about their intent to “partner” with provinces and territories to build more housing in municipalities are being scrutinized by provincial and municipal leaders. The strings attached to the funding are a point of contention.  

Municipalities are in the best position to judge what the biggest benefit will be to their community, but  new homes, no matter where they’re built, will require roads, utilities and other services that are challenging for municipalities to provide.  

There’s infrastructure that we like, such as parks, recreation facilities, pools and more. There’s infrastructure we need, such as hospitals, care homes, clinics and schools. Then there’s the infrastructure that helps pay for it all, including roads, rail, air and trade corridor access. We can’t forget how important that last piece is to all the others.  

We need to be vocal about this matter, so the federal government understands that building homes isn’t about constructing a single standing structure. Before any housing can begin to be built, there is the preparation for the development, and that’s done by our industry. That is critical and can’t be lost in the discussion.  

Working in this industry, I am constantly reminded of how great the people are who work in it. That extends beyond our country to our neighbours in the south. I was pleased to attend the 2024 World of Asphalt conference Nashville, Tenn., held in late March.  

World of Asphalt is the leading asphalt trade show and conference, where industry manufacturers and service providers in the aggregate, asphalt, pavement maintenance, and traffic safety industry sectors come together to showcase their latest products and technologies. This event features 500 exhibitors, 150 education session and over 15,000 attendees from around the world.  

A highlight for me was connecting with my peers in the U.S. chapter of Women of Asphalt. They held a one-day event as part of the conference and it was very well received. Here at home, we have a Canadian chapter of this organization, and it is looking for members and sponsors to help promote women in our industry. I’d be happy to talk to any SHCA members about it and why it matters that it thrives.