Watson, Rose Valley receiving funding for emergency planning

Two northeast Saskatchewan communities' emergency planning efforts will benefit from a provincial grant that supports inter-community collaboration.

Watson and 10 partner municipalities will receive $100,000 from the Targeted Sector Support initiative, while Rose Valley and two partner municipalities will receive $39,000.

The TSS Initiative provides cost-shared grants to support inter-community collaboration on projects that promote good governance, build capacity, and foster regional co-operation. Fifty communities around Saskatchewan have partnered on 17 approved projects following the fall 2023 intake.

Lani Rae Best, Watson's chief administrative officer, said they will hire a facilitator to create a regional emergency management program. Best said that they would not be doing this project without the TSS funding.

“The development of this program is costly, but we will have a sustainable program for years to come.”

Best said all participating municipalities will have a current and tested emergency plan. Once the plans are completed and implemented for the region they will be able to hire an emergency management co-ordinator for the region and will all be well prepared for any emergency event they could be faced with. Mike Kwasnica, Humboldt’s fire chief, spearheaded the initial meetings and idea in the region.

Rose Valley will be working on a inter-municipal emergency plan and co-operate to build regional capacity.

The Government of Saskatchewan is investing $803,648.84 in 17 new municipal projects under the initiative. TSS projects are selected under one of the following funding streams: capacity building, regional co-operation, municipal transition, and relationship building and dispute resolution. Grant funding covers up to 75 per cent of eligible project costs.

"Co-operation is integral to the success of Saskatchewan's communities," Government Relations Minister Don McMorris said. "Our government is proud to support the TSS Initiative and the hard work of our municipal partners, who are dedicated to improving the lives of their citizens through these important regional projects."

The initiative is funded through the Municipal Revenue Sharing Program. The Saskatchewan Association of Urban Municipalities (SUMA) administers this funding on behalf of the TSS Steering Committee, which is comprised of representatives from SUMA, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), the Saskatchewan Association of Northern Communities (New North), and the Ministry of Government Relations.

"TSS Initiative fosters partnership and collaboration; it helps further the hard work, good governance practices, and strategies our Saskatchewan hometowns already employ," SUMA President Randy Goulden said. "The projects and initiatives municipalities execute with this funding are a benefit to the entire province, and we are glad to be part of the TSS Initiative."

"Municipal Revenue Sharing is an important stream of funding for municipalities," SARM President Ray Orb said. "SARM believes in the power of partnerships and funding that supports inter-municipal cooperation. This latest round entails projects that will advance the sustainability of rural communities across the province."

"The funding provided by the TSS Initiative holds significant potential to create a lasting impact within the municipalities that receive it," New North Chairperson Tabitha Burr said. "By empowering municipalities to invest in crucial projects that enhance their capacity and foster strong relationships with partner communities, the benefits of this initiative extend far beyond the present day. New North takes pride in being able to play a role in this important program."

Nicole Goldsworthy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, SASKTODAY.ca