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SHCA Think Big Artwork 2020-Q4 to 2021-Q3 .25 Page Horizontal.pdf 1 2020-08-31 4:46:33 PM
It is estimated that municipalities either own or
are responsible for up to 60 per cent of Canada’s
public infrastructure. In addition to being the
means by which many important local services
are delivered, much of this infrastructure is essential
to the economic prosperity, health and quality
of life of the province.
A large portion of the infrastructure in Canada
is nearing the end of its useful life. Despite some
important investments that have been made
over the past five to 10 years through joint federal/
provincial/municipal programs, much of
Saskatchewan’s municipal infrastructure dates
from the 1950s and 1960s.
Citizen expectations continue to grow and
evolve. This combined with the dual challenges
of the small tax base in many communities and
significant increases for renewal and replacement
costs going forward make for very difficult discussions
and decisions locally.
Thus, it’s a prime opportunity for SHCA to
make its voice heard at such a program.
Day 1 topics would include discussions
around governance – what is it and why does it
matter? There’s a session that encompasses strategy,
policy, people and resource allocation, with
a third session focused on evaluation, monitoring
performance and reporting results.
A large chunk of the second day is centred
on infrastructure stewardship. Four kinds
of municipal infrastructure categories are
the focus for discussion – potable water and
wastewater, solid waste and recreational infrastructure
The fourth kind of municipal infrastructure
focused on transportation, with the
Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and
SHCA each speaking to this.
SHCA presented a video and honed in on the
aspect of asset management being a valuable way
for municipalities to fulfill their stewardship responsibilities
and to best take care of business.
Keith Comstock is a career civil servant who
spent eight-plus years as assistant deputy minister
in the Ministry of Government Relations.
He now works at JSGS under the school’s executive
director Doug Moen, a long-time friend
and former deputy minister to the premier.
Comstock says the program being offered
allows municipalities to see it as a way of not
only learning their responsibilities but also
a means of dealing with internal issues they
He acknowledged the fact there’s an infrastructure
deficit in Saskatchewan.
“I don’t think anyone would ever deny
that. Nobody has ever been able to quantify
it to anyone’s satisfaction because you have to
Posing the same question to elected officials
like mayors or city councillors and Shantel
Lipp, the president of the Saskatchewan Heavy
Construction Association, would hope to hear
answers like roads, bridges and sewer lines. After
all, those critical pieces of infrastructure are, in
fact, assets owned by municipal governments.
“Having councils understand the importance
of knowing what assets they have and
understanding the need to maintain those assets
allows for better planning and spending of
taxpayer dollars,” she said.
This was theme of Lipp’s presentation at a recent
three-day municipal governance program
hosted by the Johnson Shoyama Graduate
School for Public Policy ( JSGS).
The school boasts a well-established threeday
governance training course for the public
sector. It wanted to morph that same concept
into a three-day course for municipal governments,
where many of the concepts share a
familiar refrain from a “how do you govern
yourself ” perspective.
The introduction to the course reads:
30 Think BIG | Quarter 1 2021 | saskheavy.ca