Bonk questioned on Covid-19 communication and infrastructure

·4 min read

Recreation director Mike Schwean asked Moosomin MLA Steven Bonk about the level of consultation and communication with Covid-19 restrictions impacting recreation at the last Moosomin Town Council meeting.

“With Covid ,as a rec professional, it’s frustrating that there has been no communication about what is going to happen week to week to week,” he said.

“For example last summer I think it was on a Tuesday or a Wednesday Dr. Shahab said ‘you can open your pools on Monday.’ It takes three weeks to get an outdoor pool prepared, so after no advance information, to announce that pools could open in less than a week makes no sense. We had planned ahead and were ready to go, so we could open our pool, but many could not.

“When we don’t know what’s coming, we don’t know when to turn the ice plant on, when to turn it off, whether to order shale for the ball diamonds, whether to order chemical for the pool.

“It struck home with me when your health minister was frustrated with the vaccines and he was quoted as saying the issue is there is no communication from the federal government on vaccines, and you guys don’t know what’s coming.

“That’s our problem. We don’t know from Tuesday to the next Monday what’s allowed and we’re dealing with thousands and thousands of dollars that we don’t have if we can’t open.

“I’ve been doing this almost 35 years and no one has reached out and said what issues do you have or what thoughts do you have.

“I’m okay when you do what you did recently and said the same restrictions will be in for a month. At least we can plan.

“It’s really really hard for us when we don’t know what’s going on, just like your health minister with vaccines, and there are thousands of dollars we can lose when we have to just guess, and we order pool chemicals we can't use, or something like that.”

“I’m sympathetic with you,” Bonk replied. “We take part of our direction from the chief medical officer. I read you loud and clear but as you know the numbers can change awfully quick.

“We can’t change what happened last summer, because last summer’s already gone,” Councillor Murray Gray said.

“One of the things to get us out of this is recreation and getting back to some normalcy and having the chance to do those things again. I think going forward, if we can have more advance notice to help with the planning that will really help.

“We need to do everything we can this summer and going forward to make sure that people can have some fun.”

“It would be better for us if there was some sort of plan, even if it was dependent on numbers, just so we knew,” Schwean said.

“I understand that numbers can change but if we just had some idea what the plan was going forward, versus finding out Tuesday that you can open your pool on Monday. That just doesn’t make sense.”

“Dr. Shahab has the job of protecting Saskatchewan’s health system. He’s focused on can we keep our hospitals from collapsing. How can we protect the public and protect our health system. We rely on him on guidance in these matters,” said Bonk.

“The way to fix it is when we are done, have one big dedicated recreation grant,” Schwean said with a laugh.

Infrastructure projects

Bonk asked council members how the infrastructure projects funded by the investment in Canadian Infrastructure Plan (ICIP) are progressing.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Bonk were in Moosomin in the fall to announce additional infrastructure funding.

“The boring under the tracks is all finished, the paving projects were about three-quarters of a million dollars and they’re are all done, and the water treatment plant approval is moving along, we’ve got the letters from the Indigenous groups,” said Mayor Larry Tomlinson.

The Indigenous organization letters have now all been collected and the project will now go through a Climate Lens assessment as it is more than a $10 million project.

The town applied for funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, and the project was recommended by the province for federal funding.

Approved projects will be funded 40 per cent by the federal government, 33 per cent by the provincial government and 27 per cent by the municipality.

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Spencer Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator