A Fleming resident is calling on the Government of Saskatchewan to take care of the land around the Welcome to Saskatchewan sign at the border of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Trevor Green works around the area and he says the lack of maintenance has become an eyesore, noting the unkempt grass and garbage littering the site as well as a dead tree between the sign and the highway. In 2020 Green called on the government to maintain the sign. After a World-Spectator article, Sask Highways took responsibility for the site, after some initial confusion over which department’s responsibility it was. But now Green says the site is back to what it was like before the maintenance in 2020. “We farm not far from it and we went through this whole spiel last year and they couldn’t find which department was supposed to look after it but then within a day (after the article in the paper) they had a contractor out there that cleaned it all up, then they maybe mowed it twice after that but now we’re in summer again and we’re back in the same mess,” said Green. He says that when he raised awareness around the site, the government’s response and confusion were frustrating. “It was a typical government situation where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing and they don’t know which pocket they are supposed to be in. I said it last year, it’s just grass but it just goes to show how ridiculous our government operates on anything. It might be grass today, but it could be infrastructure or anything else.” Green says it is embarrassing for proud Saskatchewan residents to greet visitors to the province with an ill-maintained sign and uncut grass. “We’re supposed to be proud of our province and we have visitors coming through here and this is the first thing they see. There are people there taking pictures every day. “It’s like we’re a dirty province or something. That’s our entrance and it used to be our tourist information centre and it was great and it was maintained. That is our entrance to our province on the TransCanada Highway and that’s how we look after it year-to-year. The government pisses away money on so many things, but they can’t hire any contractors to look after it. It’s peanuts compared to the money that flies out the window for anything else.” He says that the responsibility of maintaining the area around the sign falls on the government and that it should not be difficult to maintain.
There are no garbage or recycling bins at the site, and garbage is strewn around the site. There are no picnic tables on the concrete pads made for them, no washrooms, and the site is filled with tall weeds and dead trees. “Fleming can hardly afford to contract the guy to cut the grass in town and for Moosomin it’s a pretty big pain for the guys in Moosomin to load up a mower, take it down there, and then mow it. Just tender it out to a contractor and tell them to look after it. “It’s the entrance to our province on the Number One highway, look after it. Enough is enough,” said Green.
Spencer Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator