Federal dollars not buying Liberal seats here

It’s always good news when someone is sending a cheque your way, so in this instance Yorkton Council is smiling as the City of Yorkton has received word it will receive a significant grant through the New Building Canada Fund (NBCF).

The City’s grant application has been approved for $3,710,000 of federal funding, Council heard officially at their most recent regular meeting, the process now simply a case of paperwork.

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“Upon signing the federal agreement, the province will submit a separate agreement for their portion of the grant,” said Michael Buchholzer Director of Environmental Services and Capital Projects.

Buchholzer said the City expects the province will match the federal dollars.

“Fortunately with $3,710,000 in federal and $3,710,000 in provincial grants, the City will not need to borrow funds to complete this project. The tender process will commence in February with construction starting in early summer,” he said.

The federal dollars are coming via Infrastructure Canada through a funding program known as the New Building Canada Fund (NBCF) to help fund projects of national, regional and local significance that promotes economic growth, job creation and productivity.

As Buchholzer noted, the objective of this program is to support infrastructure projects related to economic growth, a clean environment and stronger communities. The program supplies funding for up to two-thirds of the eligible costs, with the remaining one-third to be committed by the municipality.

In Yorkton’s case the money will fund a project focused on the drainage culverts under Highway 9 which are collapsing and the 1.7 kilometer long, 100 year-old, one-meter diameter sanitary outfall pipe which requires replacement.

The drainage channel and the sanitary outfall are a major component of the city’s infrastructure. The channel diverts the majority of the City’s storm water to Yorkton Creek and the sanitary outfall is the only connecting pipeline from the City to the wastewater treatment plant.

So the money is certainly timely as it will mean the City will not need to borrow to undertake the work.

It has been a long while since the City has seen a significant injection of federal dollars, and many will suggest the only reason the dollars are flowing now is that a federal election looms on the horizon.

Perhaps the national program is indeed doling out dollars right now because of the election, but a Liberal government has little reason, even on the eve of an election, to invest dollars in Yorkton, or Saskatchewan, if the ulterior motive is garnering votes.

Locally, the riding was held by New Democrat Lorne Nystrom 1968 to 1993, with Garry Breitkreuz, initially as a Reform Party member and later the reformed Conservatives held the seat until 2015, when Cathay Wagantall took over. One project cheque is not about to see a Liberal candidate become a frontrunner in the next election.

Provincially, of the 14 federal seats, the Liberals carried one in 2015, with Ralph Goodale holding a Regina riding.

Little suggests that is about to change, especially with former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and current man Scott Moe focus more attention on railing against policies being set by the Justin Trudeau government than creating effective policy themselves. The constant maelstrom of negativity out of Regina, especially when one factors in the province is already deeply Tory blue, suggests no amount of federal dollars will change Liberal fortunes here.

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