ARCHIVED - Building for Prosperity: Public Infrastructure in Saskatchewan

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Minister's Message from Minister Lebel

Photo of the Honorable Denis Lebel

The Honorable Denis Lebel, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Quebec

Safe, modern and efficient public infrastructure is key to Canada's economic growth and long-term prosperity. Knowing how important infrastructure is to our country as a whole, and to the quality of life of every Canadian, I am proud to be leading the development of a long-term plan for public infrastructure that extends beyond the expiry of the Building Canada Plan. A new long-term infrastructure plan will position our nation to meet the challenges and opportunities of the coming decades.

Through Canada's Economic Action Plan and our infrastructure programs, our government has maintained an open dialogue with partners and stakeholders about the best way to support national and local priorities through infrastructure investments. Moving forward we will continue to work closely on infrastructure projects that make a difference for communities large and small. From the regional water project in the Dundurn area to the Global Transportation Hub west of Regina that connects the province to world markets, together, we have made Canada a better place in which to live, work and do business.

As the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, I am very proud of the achievements that have been made possible through partnerships with the Province of Saskatchewan and its municipalities. Looking ahead, these strong ties will form the foundation of our next long-term infrastructure plan and ensure Canadian communities continue to grow and prosper.

Working together, we will accomplish more and ensure Canada remains well-positioned for the future.

Minister's Message from Minister Reiter

Photo of the Honorable Jim Reiter

The Honorable Jim Reiter
Minister of Government Relations

The Province of Saskatchewan is experiencing a time of record growth and prosperity. Our communities are developing faster than ever before. Public and private investment in Saskatchewan is at an all-time high. The province is breaking records in exports, wholesale trade, population growth and employment rates. Major economic forecasters are predicting that Saskatchewan will lead all provinces in economic growth in 2012.

The growth we are experiencing is translating into exciting opportunities for Saskatchewan people, existing industries and businesses, and presenting a wealth of opportunity for new investors to our province. This growth, however, brings with it the inevitable infrastructure challenges. We are challenged to build - and fund - new infrastructure to keep pace with demand. At the same time, we also face the need to maintain and rehabilitate existing, often dated, infrastructure.

The federal and provincial governments in partnership with municipalities, are working together to meet these challenges. The Province of Saskatchewan has accessed federal funding to provide safer, updated, efficient and effective infrastructure. A large amount of work has taken place to address urban and rural growth throughout the province. We've seen the benefits on our highway network, municipal roads and bridges, and in the form of new community buildings, water and wastewater systems, and much more.

We look forward to a very bright future in Saskatchewan, and a continued positive and open partnership with the federal government to ensure our infrastructure investment keeps pace with growth.

Success Through Partnership

Working Together to Accomplish More

Since 2007, federal, provincial and municipal governments have made significant investments in public infrastructure in the Province of Saskatchewan. More recently, Canada's Economic Action Plan accelerated existing programs and delivered new funding to create jobs and support economic growth.

With a focus on transportation and drinking water investments, infrastructure commitments under the Building Canada Fund, the Green Infrastructure Fund and the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund now total over $959 million*. The result: more than 300 projects across Saskatchewan, helping create the right conditions for economic growth and long-term prosperity. The investments and projects cover many types of infrastructure:

  • transportation:
    149 projects worth more than $413 million
  • green infrastructure:
    62 projects worth more than $123 million
  • sports and recreation:
    3 projects worth more than $48 million
  • drinking water:
    91 projects worth more than $241 million
  • culture and tourism:
    3 projects worth more than $129 million
  • other:
    3 projects worth more than $4 million

Infrastructure Funding by Category

Infrastructure Funding by Category

*based on total eligible costs

Partnership in Action

Working together to build infrastructure achieves local and regional priorities while supporting national objectives. The Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, the cornerstone of Canada's Economic Action Plan, has demonstrated what strong partnerships can accomplish. During the global economic downturn all orders of government responded quickly and effectively to identify shovel-ready projects, drive employment and boost the economy, through 154 infrastructure projects in Saskatchewan worth more than $279 million. These projects provided lasting benefits to communities across Saskatchewan.

In addition to Infrastructure Canada's programs, the Government of Canada provided over $18 million for First Nations infrastructure projects in Saskatchewan. Thanks to the partnership and strong cooperation among all orders of government and stakeholders, First Nation communities received significant support for improved schools, clean water and important community services.

Canada's Gas Tax Fund at Work in Saskatchewan:

Local Projects Long-term Results

Each year, Canada's Gas Tax Fund is delivered to municipalities across the country to support local infrastructure initiatives and encourage economic growth. Increased to $2 billion per year nationally in 2009 and made permanent in 2011, the Fund supports municipal infrastructure projects that create jobs and help to protect the environment - contributing to cleaner air, cleaner water and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Saskatchewan municipalities receive a predictable, annual funding amount which they can immediately invest in local projects, bank for future years and/ or pool with other municipalities for regional projects. Stable funding with built-in flexibility provides greater certainty for local governments to plan for long-term infrastructure renewal.

The majority of Saskatchewan municipalities are using their Gas Tax funding for key local infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, water and community energy projects.

Gas Tax Allocations by Category 2005-06 to 2010-11

Gas Tax Fund Expenditures by Category from 2005-06 to 2010-11

At the end of 2008, Gas Tax Fund investments in Saskatchewan had resulted in
these annual water, energy and resource savings:

  • 190,000 m3 of water conserved
  • 152 tonnes diverted from landfills
  • 50,000 m3 of heating/cooling fuel conserved
  • almost 95,000 kWh of energy saved

Between 2005 and 2014, municipalities across Saskatchewan will receive a total of $372 million from the Gas Tax Fund for local infrastructure priorities.

Planning for Growth Program

bus on the side of a road

In 2010, the Planning for Growth Program set aside $600,000 from Canada's Gas Tax Fund to enhance municipal and regional planning capacity. Enterprise Saskatchewan set aside $500,000 in provincial funding, and municipalities contributed $1.4 million for this initiative. The Planning for Growth Program provides funding to groups of municipalities to:

  • facilitate regional planning to support coordination of infrastructure and land use for growth;
  • build professional planning capacity in municipalities and regions; and,
  • build and enhance relationships required to support regional planning initiatives.

A total of 22 projects were approved, one of which involves eight municipalities working collaboratively on an Industrial Corridor Growth Management Strategy for the Moose Jaw - Regina Industrial Corridor at a total project cost of $200,000.

Saskatchewan's Global Transportation Hub

The vision of development west of Regina is anchored by state-of-the-art facilities at the Global Transportation Hub (GTH). This transportation and logistics enterprise will be 'Saskatchewan's Gateway to the World'. As an exporting province, Saskatchewan's economic growth depends on moving manufactured goods and raw materials efficiently and cost effectively to global markets.

The Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan have worked closely to develop the 800-hectare project. This includes funding to build a new interchange and four-lane West Regina Bypass to provide safe and efficient access for thousands of commercial trucks. In addition, the City of Regina has invested its own funds in partnership with the Government of Canada on several projects, including a new pumping station and force main collection system, drainage channel, and water and wastewater distribution pipelines.

The private sector is also an important partner in the development of the GTH. Canadian Pacific is building a new 120-hectare Intermodal Facility as part of the hub, which is capable of handling up to 250,000 containers per year. Saskatchewan's exports have grown to $75 billion since 2007, proving the need for greater capacity. The facility is now a key intermodal location for the company, joining Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver as major intermodal centres in Canada. To date, the public and private sectors have invested $610 million to develop the hub, with over 3,200 person years of construction employment and over 800 permanent jobs.

The Loblaw group of companies was the first client of the GTH, with other companies quickly coming on board, including Canadian Logistics Services, the Yanke Group, Alliance Grain Traders, and Consolidated FastFrate.

With the hub up and running, new investors, developments and job opportunities will follow, contributing to short- and long-term economic growth in the Regina area and across Saskatchewan.

The Loblaw Group of Companies distribution centre is almost 89,650 m2. That's the size of 11 football fields.

Funding Core Infrastructure under the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund

Aerial view of Wanuskewin Road

Wanuskewin Road Twinning in Saskatoon

Under the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund, federal, provincial and municipal governments have committed more than $432 million to core infrastructure priorities in Saskatchewan.

The funding commitments cover a variety of infrastructure needs. In addition to significant investments in transportation, such as the twinning on major streets in Regina and Saskatoon, funding has been approved for water and wastewater infrastructure projects in both major cities.

Provincial-Territorial Base funding has also been allocated for six water and wastewater projects in small communities. These initiatives will provide safer drinking water for local residents and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Moreover, sport and culture initiatives under the fund in Moose Jaw and North Battleford respectively will serve to enhance the lifestyles of Saskatchewan citizens.

Enhancing Transportation Infrastructure — A Competitive Advantage for Saskatchewan

  • 43 provincial highway and bridge initiatives translate into 302 kilometres of Canada's Highway System roads and 529 kilometres of key collector highways.

Building for the Future: Sewage Lagoon Expansion

In anticipation of future population growth, the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan have partnered with the Village of Meota, the Resort Village of Metinota, and the resort hamlets of Lakeview and Suttons Beach in the Rural Municipality of Meota to construct a new lagoon and effluent pumping station. Worth more than $2.5 million, these facilities will help protect the environment for years to come.

Circle Drive South

Addressing Growth

Like many urban centres in the province, the City of Saskatoon is experiencing growing pains with traffic problems on city streets and bridges that connect to the provincial highway system. The Circle Drive South project is helping to address these issues. This is the largest single transportation project in the City of Saskatoon's history and includes:

Artist rendering of a new bridge structure
  • a new six-lane bridge
  • four new interchanges
  • 7 kilometres of freeway/expressway from Clarence Avenue to Clancy Drive
  • pedestrian and cyclist facilities
  • improving access for surrounding homes and businesses
  • four railway grade separations
  • sound reduction walls
  • relocation of utilities

Far-Reaching Benefits: Local, Provincial and National

The project is cost-shared by the federal and provincial governments, the City of Saskatoon and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park. While supporting urban growth, it will benefit residents and businesses by reducing traffic congestion and making the shipment of goods easier.

Traffic models suggest the new south bridge will carry approximately 30,000 vehicles per day when Saskatoon reaches a population of 250,000. The project will result in shorter commuting distances, and 35% less traffic using the Idylwyld Bridge near downtown during afternoon rush hour.

With three National Highway System routes, the Canadian National main line and the Canadian Pacific railway all converging at Saskatoon, the city is also a major hub for export trade. Once complete, the project will greatly improve transportation efficiency for businesses who can't afford the delays and costs associated with urban congestion.

Keeping Work on Track: The Design/Build Process

Saskatoon City Council awarded the design/build contract in March 2010, meaning the contractor both designs and builds the project. This is the first large-scale project in the Province to use this process. It establishes costs up front, helps with better scheduling, and shortens the construction period. Site preparation and construction began in spring 2010 and the new south bridge is expected to open in fall 2012.

Funding for Local Priorities:
The Building Canada Fund — Communities Component

The Communities Component of the Building Canada Fund recognizes the unique infrastructure needs of smaller communities (less than 100,000 people), focusing on projects that meet economic, environmental and quality of life objectives. Under the Communities Component and top-up, more than $339 million has been invested in 150 community projects around the province. Water projects represent approximately 50 percent of the approved projects, with wastewater accounting for almost 30 percent.

Dundurn Rural Water Utility

Machines digging a trench to install the new extention of the potable water pipeline in Dundurn

This regional project is providing drinking water to several communities, including the Town of Dundurn, Town of Hanley, Blackstrap Provincial Park and residents in four surrounding rural municipalities. With a joint federal-provincial contribution of more than $14 million, the Dundurn Rural Water Utility will extend a potable water pipeline to more than 1,800 households. The impact: residents will have access to a reliable, safe and secure potable water source, and the Rural Water Utility will have lower capital, maintenance and operating costs.

Civic Events Centre in Estevan

Interior of the Estevan Civic Events Centre in construction

The new complex has a total capacity of 3,664 people. It features large glazed windows for capturing natural light and energy-efficient operating systems. The complex provides the region and the city with a state-of-the-art venue for hockey, curling and figure skating, with a full-service lounge overlooking the ice surface. A two-lane rubberized walking track helps promote year-round fitness for the region's walkers and joggers, and is an integral part of local track and field and gymnastics programs. There are also facilities for indoor soccer and lacrosse. Eight large dressing rooms complete the new facility. The new centre will also help Estevan attract sporting events — and the dollars they generate — to the region. It will also host concerts, conventions and cultural events.

Saskatchewan: Economic Growth and Long-term Prosperity

As Saskatchewan's growth and economic prosperity continue to develop faster than ever before, demand for new and improved infrastructure will also continue to grow. Saskatchewan will meet this demand by building new infrastructure to deal with growth and pressure points, and rebuilding and renewing existing infrastructure.

Map showing the different phases of the Highway 11 twinning project

An example: the twinning of Highway 11 between Saskatoon and Prince Albert is nearing completion. This 105 kilometre four-lane project is key to Saskatchewan's export-based economy, and is the "Gateway to the North", linking to resource development opportunities. It is the primary north-south corridor for the province connecting Saskatchewan's three largest cities - Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert - to Trans-Canada Highway 1, Yellowhead Highway 16 and mainline railways.

This project is expected to ease congestion and improve safety on the corridor. The Province of Saskatchewan appreciates the Government of Canada's investment to accelerate the twinning from 2016 to 2012, with each government contributing $62 million.

Another example: Saskatchewan's municipal infrastructure is also being rebuilt and renewed. In addition to $1.6 million in city funding, the City of Melfort was able to draw on $3.2 million from the federal-provincial Building Canada Fund - Communities Component to complete watermain and storm sewer replacement and roadway repairs. The project will mean more reliable water, better roads and lower operating and maintenance costs.

Whether it's building a new bridge, highway, arena or waste water treatment plant, these projects improve the quality of life for all residents of Saskatchewan.

Looking Forward at Provincial Priorities

Saskatchewan's economy is stronger than ever, and investment from the private sector is at an all-time high. The Province's natural resource advantage is a key factor driving the Canadian economy. Now is the time for governments to invest in both provincial and municipal infrastructure to address the challenges associated with growth.

In Saskatchewan, transportation is uniquely positioned as a driver of economic development. Some two-thirds of the province's gross domestic product is derived from exports and virtually all key sectors of the economy are exportdependent and reliant on transportation services. Transportation also serves an important social context providing access to health care, education and other vital services. Saskatchewan, with the help of our federal partners, will continue to capitalize on transportation's influence on economic development and our quality of life.

Equally important is the need to fully fund infrastructure to support strong, sustainable communities. Consultation and collaboration between governments has delivered successful infrastructure programs in the past. This success encourages us to continue building on the lessons learned and improve future programs.

Like many provinces, Saskatchewan's provincial and municipal infrastructure deficit is significant. Deteriorating and obsolete infrastructure needs repairing and replacing, and pressures such as new regulations designed to keep drinking water safe must be adhered to. All levels of government need to take steps to address this deficit.

A significant accomplishment of recent infrastructure programs was the funding of regionally-focused projects. The Government of Saskatchewan, with the guidance of stakeholders and municipalities, can determine infrastructure priorities supported by a federal funding framework to meet the shared objectives of all three levels of government.

The provincial and federal governments have made strategic investments to take advantage of new growth opportunities in Saskatchewan. We look forward to a continued emphasis on infrastructure investment.

Moving Forward Together

Continuing Partnerships

Achieving our goals as a nation means that all orders of government and other partners must work together. We all know that public infrastructure plays a key role in our lives and in our economic well-being. Canada's long-term prosperity relies on the strength of our communities and the basic services that support them.

Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, and infrastructure initiatives such as the Building Canada Fund, the Gas Tax Fund, and the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, great things have been built in Saskatchewan. People across the province have safer roads, cleaner water and improved sport, recreation and cultural infrastructure. The tangible benefits of our infrastructure investments increase every day as more and more projects are completed.

The Government of Canada is committed to continuing a partnership approach to national, regional and local infrastructure priorities. Strong partnerships mean that every dollar invested in public infrastructure will meet today's needs and sustain future economic growth and development.

A New Long-Term Plan

On November 30, 2011 the Government of Canada launched a process to engage partners from across the country on the development of a new long-term public infrastructure plan. This means working with provinces, territories municipalities, key stakeholders, as well as with technical experts, to build knowledge around five broad themes:

  • infrastructure and the economy;
  • infrastructure and the environment;
  • infrastructure and stronger communities;
  • financing infrastructure; and
  • asset planning and sustainability.

In the lead up to the new long-term infrastructure plan, we will undertake a constructive dialogue that focuses on the broad principles, priorities and future directions for public infrastructure in Canada. Working together will ensure that Canada has a strong public infrastructure foundation for sustained growth and economic prosperity - now and for years to come.

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