Sharing news that SHCA members need to know
Premier makes cabinet changes
At the end of August, Premier Scott Moe announced a number of changes to the provincial cabinet.
“The mandate of our new cabinet is to build and protect Saskatchewan – to continue building a strong economy, strong communities and strong families, and to protect all that we have built together from threats like federal intrusion and economic challenges like inflation,” said Moe.
Moose Jaw North MLA Tim McLeod enters cabinet for the first time as Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health. Prince Albert Carlton MLA Joe Hargrave re-enters cabinet as Minister of SaskBuilds and Procurement.
Six ministers remain in cabinet but take on new responsibilities:
- Lori Carr becomes Minister of Highways;
- Jeremy Cockrill becomes Minister of Education;
- Dustin Duncan becomes Minister of Crown Investments Corporation and Minister responsible for all the major Crowns, including SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SaskTel, SGI and SaskWater, as well as Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission;
- Christine Tell becomes Minister of Environment;
- Paul Merriman becomes Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety and Minister responsible for the Firearms Secretariat; and
- Everett Hindley becomes Minister of Health.
- Nine ministers retain their current responsibilities:
- Donna Harpauer remains Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance;
- Jim Reiter remains Minister of Energy and Resources;
- Gordon Wyant remains Minister of Advanced Education;
- Jeremy Harrison remains Minister of Trade and Export Development, Minister of Immigration and Career Training, and Minister responsible for Innovation and Tourism Saskatchewan;
- David Marit remains Minister of Agriculture and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation, and also becomes Minister responsible for the Water Security Agency;
- Don McMorris remains Minister of Government Relations, Minister responsible for First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs and Minister responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission, and also becomes Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, and the Minister responsible for Workers’ Compensation Board;
- Bronwyn Eyre remains Minister of Justice and Attorney General;
- Gene Makowsky remains Minister of Social Services; and
- Laura Ross remains Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport and Minister responsible for the Status of Women and the Lotteries and Gaming Corporation.
The overall size of cabinet remains unchanged at 18, including the premier.
Two members who recently announced they will not be seeking re-election in 2024 – Don Morgan and Dana Skoropad – are leaving cabinet. Morgan becomes Provincial Secretary.
“I want to thank those two members and particularly recognize Don Morgan, who along with Donna Harpauer has been in every cabinet since our government was first elected in 2007, making them the two longest-serving current ministers anywhere in Canada,” said Moe.
Major improvements on Highway 15 near Kenaston underway
A $22.7 million highway construction project is underway near Kenaston. The two-year major highway improvement project will include construction of a subgrade, widening and resurfacing on Highway 15.
“The Ministry of Highways is dedicated to enhancing safety and improving key transportation corridors through continued investments,” Minister Cockrill said. “Highway 15, a high clearance corridor, offers shippers and commercial carriers an ideal opportunity to transport over-dimension loads.”
The Highway 15 corridor allows goods to be trucked without the need to raise or temporarily cut utility lines and other structures.
The Highway 15 construction project is 22 km, which runs from 15 km east of the junction with Highway 11 to about 20 km west of the junction with Highway 2. The project will include culvert replacements and road widening work this year, which is expected to be complete this fall. Paving work will begin during the 2024 construction season.
“This is a major project that will take time to complete,” Minister Cockrill said. “We appreciate the patience of drivers who slow down for safety as we work to enhance our transportation system.”
Langenburg Redi-Mix of Regina is the general contractor.
Link Developments Ltd. selected to construct Regina General Hospital parkade project
Link Developments Ltd. has been selected as the team that will construct and maintain the new Regina General Hospital (RGH) parkade with construction set to begin this fall.
“This milestone is significant in addressing the challenges encountered by residents, staff and other users of the RGH parkade facility,” SaskBuilds and Procurement Minister Joe Hargrave stated. “Our commitment remains unwavering as we strive to deliver accessible and convenient infrastructure for the benefit of all Saskatchewan residents.”
“Our government is very pleased to have a construction team in place for the new parkade at RGH,” Health Minister Everett Hindley said. “We have heard the concerns of staff and visitors to the hospital. This parkade will provide a safe, convenient option for parking for years to come.”
The new parkade at RGH will be built in the northwest section of the existing visitor parking lot. Link Developments’ proposed design includes a parking facility with a total of 1,005 stalls, consisting of 873 stalls in the parkade and 132 surface stalls, for a net increase of 686 parking stalls.
“Ensuring a better quality of life for all Saskatchewan people remains a priority for this government and the key objectives for this project drive us closer toward this goal,” Regina Pasqua MLA Muhammad Fiaz said. “These include improving safety, accessibility and convenience for staff, patients, families and visitors at RGH.”
“The Saskatchewan Health Authority is pleased that the construction of the parkade at the RGH is moving forward,” interim vice-president, quality, safety and chief information officer of Saskatchewan Health Authority Michelle Mula said. “With safety at the forefront of our decision-making, the parkade aims to provide additional safe and accessible parking at RGH for staff, patients and visitors.”
Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.
$50 million passing lanes project complete on Highway 16
Major safety improvements on Highway 16 have been completed. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to commemorate completion of the final set of passing lanes which have opened near Saltcoats.
“The Yellowhead Highway is a major transportation corridor that is used to move people and goods across the province,” said Jeremy Cockrill, former Saskatchewan Minister of Highways and Infrastructure and current Minister of Education. “With the expanding canola crushing facilities in the area, there are a lot of large trucks travelling through the area and we’re taking steps to move that traffic safely and efficiently. These passing lanes allow drivers to pass slower moving vehicles safely.”
The multi-year passing lanes project extends from Clavet, east of Saskatoon, to the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border, east of Yorkton. This highway safety project was a key investment in Saskatchewan’s $2 billion stimulus program during the pandemic to help drive economic recovery. In all, 26 passing lanes and multiple intersection upgrades were constructed.
“As representatives of Saskatchewan truck transport, we are pleased to see investments in the highway network that assist the movement of trucks and most importantly ones designed to improve the safety for our professional drivers,” said Susan Ewart, president of the Saskatchewan Trucking Association. “The passing lanes and intersection enhancements will be welcome by our members.”
Passing lanes are typically a minimum of two kilometres and allow drivers to pass slower moving vehicles safely.
WSA announces $500K infrastructure crossing replacement program
The Water Security Agency (WSA) is launching a new $500,000 cost-sharing pilot program that will assist rural municipalities and irrigation districts with the cost of replacing aging infrastructure. RMs and irrigation districts replacing infrastructure like bridges or culverts that cross WSA channels are eligible for 50/50 cost sharing.
“This is another great example of WSA creating partnership programs to support rural infrastructure in Saskatchewan,” the former Minister Responsible for the WSA Jeremy Cockrill, whose duties were replaced by David Marit in August, said. “As replacement costs for infrastructure continue to rise, WSA is partnering with RMs and irrigators to alleviate the financial impact of replacement, all while safeguarding provincial infrastructure and protecting our communities.”
To be eligible, bridges or culvert-style crossings must cross WSA canals or other conveyance while maintaining current flow rates.
“Thanks to a grant from the WSA Infrastructure Crossing Replacement Program, an RM can not only complete a bridge or culvert project, but the money saved can be used for other critical infrastructure,” said Ray Orb, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities.
There is no deadline to apply to the program, and grants will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Costs incurred through March 31, 2024, will be considered.
$26 million paving project underway in southeast Saskatchewan
The Government of Saskatchewan is ramping up repaving work this year with 230 km of improvements at key corridors around the province, including a segment of Highway 33. It is part of a plan to improve another 1,000 km of highway this season.
“Our government is in year four of the Growth Plan and we made some commitments to Saskatchewan people, including a pledge to improve 10,000 km in a decade,” former Minister of Highways and Infrastructure Jeremy Cockrill said. “Our construction crews are working all over the province making improvements to our transportation network which will improve safety and enhance key transportation corridors.”
The 38-km repaving project between Fillmore and Stoughton will also include four intersection improvements on Highway 33. Construction began in July and is expected to complete in October.
“Maintaining and improving rural highway infrastructure is important for the people who work, live and visit our communities,” Fillmore Reeve Russell Leguee said. “The upgrades to Highway 33 will positively contribute to the safe and reliable movement of agricultural commodities to markets domestically and globally. Ensuring connectivity between communities and providing safe and reliable roads ensures a better quality of life for people living in rural areas.”
The general contractor is Langenburg Redi-Mix of Regina.
A weekly highway construction update is published on Saskatchewan.ca to provide drivers with the latest details on projects underway to help plan safe and efficient travel.