Agreement shows solidarity on Highway #32
By Scott Anderson
November 17, 2006
Over 20 Southwest groups, organizations and businesses who have pledged to partner together in order to speed up repairs on Highway #32 between Leader and Swift Current, have completed the signing of a letter of understanding with the Department of Highways.
A letter signing ceremony was hosted on Nov. 9 in order to give a stronger voice to the provincial government on the need to fix this key transportation route.
The letter was signed or will be signed by the following: Southwest Transportation Planning Council, RM of Happyland #231, City of Swift Current, Southwest Community Futures Development Corp., Southwest Regional Economic Development Authority, Village of Pennant, RM of Swift Current #137, Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association, Swift Current Chamber of Commerce, Town of Leader, Great Sandhills and River Routes Tourism, Great Sandhills Terminal, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, Action Southwest Business Networks Coalition, Cypress Hills Regional College, Action Swift Current, Village of Lancer, RM of Clinworth #230, RM of Riverside #168, Southwest Municipal Government Committee, Sandhills Credit Union, and Southwest Credit Union.
“Honestly I didn’t think it was going to come, but I’m so glad that everyone’s come together in the Southwest. It’s a big opportunity for us. It’s a place for us to start and move forward and start the Southwest working as one,” explained Former Leader Mayor and current Town Councillor Gary Meier. “It verifies that we knew that this many people were being affected by the condition of the highway. We always suspected how many people were affected, but now it’s proven in writing.”
With a widely supported understanding in place, the group will now begin negotiations with the Department of Highways and continue a lobby effort to the Minister of Highways to try and move the project up the priority list.
“There’s been no financial commitment. It’s going to be a partnership. We’re not sure exactly how the partnership is going to come forward yet, but it’s just the beginning of a whole range of negotiations,” Meier said.
Sandra Blyth, Project Manager for Action Southwest, said the signing was important because it shows another way the region can bond together to move forward.
“In order to grow in the Southwest we have to ensure that we have the proper infrastructure in place. An infrastructure that will allow our industries and our communities to grow and to flourish. So this is why it’s so important for all of us to come together and band as one to ensure that we’re prepared for the future.”
Reprinted with permission of the Southwest Booster.
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