Scott Moe comes to Moosomin to announce MEEP funding

September 14, 2020, 7:43 am
Rob Paul - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

<b>MEEP funding for Moosomin</b><br>Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe was in Moosomin Wednesday to announces that Moosomin will receive almost $400,000 in MEEP funding from the provincial government, in addition to about $600,000 in provincial revenue sharing for 2020 and $163,000 in Safe Restart funding.. Moosomin MLA Steven Bonk is at right, Mayor Larry Tomlinson is at left, and Councillors Greg Nosterud, Chris Davidson, Ron Fisk, and Murray Gray are across the back

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe was in Moosomin on Tuesday, as part of his tour through major municipalities in the province announcing Municipal Economic Enhancement Program (MEEP) funding.

As part of the MEEP program, the Town of Moosomin received $394,247 that will be going towards infrastructure and paving.

In May, the Government of Saskatchewan announced funding to all communities within the province under MEEP. MEEP is providing $150 million to local municipalities ($143 per capita) to support investments in infrastructure to help stimulate economic recovery and create jobs.

MEEP is a key component of the Government of Saskatchewan’s $7.5 billion, two-year capital plan, that was announced on May 6, to build a strong Saskatchewan and stimulate Saskatchewan’s economic recovery from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding must be used by March 31, 2022.

On Ellice Street in Moosomin, Moe was joined by Moosomin MLA Steven Bonk, Moosomin Mayor Larry Tomlinson, and Moosomin councillors Chris Davidson, Ron Fisk, Murray Gray, and Greg Nosterud.

“One of the things you have the opportunity to do when you make an infrastructure investment, such as this government has and then bolstered that, is the opportunity to travel across the province,” said Moe. “I’ve been doing that for just over a week now and we’ll be out through southern Saskatchewan the rest of this week. Thank you very much Mayor Tomlinson and council for coming here today and thank you for your leadership the past six months and through your term, but most certainly during the last six months as we have faced this global pandemic in our nation and our province.

“It’s been six months since we had our first case in Saskatchewan and I assure you that better days are ahead for our province if we do the right things. If we continue to make the right decisions we can ensure that our province and our communities continue to grow and continue to advance and continue to offer hope and opportunity for that next generation, for our children, and for generations to come.”

Moe made it a point in his MEEP announcement to focus on Moosomin’s growth as a community and the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic by the people of Saskatchewan.

“It’s great to be back in Moosomin with Steve (Bonk), your MLA and our caucus member that helps guide us through some of these decisions with the infrastructure decision notable among them and also the MEEP,” Moe said. “It’s good to be here. People are so friendly throughout the province and most certainly in rural Saskatchewan. It seems to me that Moosomin embodies that friendliness, that Saskatchewan hospitality.

“We talk a lot at times about what Saskatchewan has and what we can offer the world in the way of our products, our food, fuel, and fertilizer.

“We have energy, we have agriculture, we have mining, and Moosomin is an area where you’re leaders in all three of those products. Many communities across Saskatchewan possess one, possibly two, but Moosomin is one of the few areas that possesses all three of Saskatchewan’s flagship products. We found out at last year’s pipeline rally here in town that you support these industries and you support them unequivocally and without hesitation and we’ve got to be grateful for that in this province.

“We’ve got to be grateful for the leadership provided by this community, I know I’m personally grateful and for that I thank you Steven, I thank you Mayor Tomlinson, I thank you council, and I thank all the residents throughout the Moosomin region,” said Moe.

“We’ve gone through an unprecedented time the last six months as we have faced this Covid-19 pandemic and in this generation we haven’t faced this sort of challenge. Together we are meeting this challenge, in Moosomin we are meeting this challenge, across Saskatchewan we are meeting this challenge, and we are meeting it across the nation. We’ve seen the number of active cases drop significantly across Saskatchewan in the last few weeks and we are in a really good place in this province because each of us is taking our personal responsibility very seriously. I want to thank all the Moosomin residents for doing your part. We’re going to get through this pandemic and we are going to come out stronger on the other side.”

The key component of MEEP is to help with the economic recovery from the impact Covid-19 has had and Moe believes major infrastructure investments are a big step in the right direction for continuing Saskatchewan’s momentum towards coming back stronger from the pandemic.

“The recovery is already under way in Saskatchewan,” said Moe. “We’re leading the nation (with unemployment numbers), we had 4,700 more jobs in August and our unemployment rate has dropped to 7.9 per cent—the lowest unemployment rate in Canada. As a government we want to do everything we can to help speed up the economic recovery and that includes investing in infrastructure initiatives, like the one we’re announcing here today—the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program. MEEP is a $150 million program that distributes grants to municipalities on a per capita basis.

“We came forward with this program because we did not want municipalities to back off with their infrastructure plans for two reasons. One, they need the infrastructure and two, we need the economic activity in our communities across Saskatchewan. This is a way for us to augment the $7.5 billion, two-year capital plan that the provincial government has put in place to build infrastructure in community after community, but also to stimulate the economy as we come out of this global pandemic. The idea is to give a booster shot to shovel ready projects that municipalities have planned, to improve our services, and create jobs. We left it up to the municipalities to decide how they were going to allocate their MEEP funding. Moosomin has decided to invest nearly $400,000 to upgrade sewer and water lines—much needed infrastructure in many communities, not just in Moosomin—and also to do some paving and complete some of the work on curbs and gutters throughout the community. It makes a lot of sense to me and I know it does to the people who live here.

“We’ll continue to invest in our basic infrastructure, at the macro level and at the community level whenever we are able to,” said Moe. “The province has also provided more than $600,000 in revenue sharing to Moosomin this fiscal year and we provided that up front at the beginning of the year to all of our communities across Saskatchewan so they had a certainty in a very uncertain time. That’s an 169 per cent increase over 2007, we are trying to keep up with our funding to municipalities with the exponential growth we have seen over the last decade in our communities. Revenue sharing this year province wide was again a record amount at $278 million.

Bonk says MEEP an important program

Bonk praised the work the Government of Saskatchewan has done in helping with the economic recovery, specifically with the MEEP and the willingness to help communities continue forward with infrastructure projects that may have been put on hold due to Covid-19.

“Today is a wonderful day to be here in Saskatchewan,” said Bonk. “We’ve faced both adversity and uncertainty over the last six months, but we’ve pulled together as a province and we stand stronger and more united because of it. I want to thank Mayor Tomlinson and Premier Moe for their strong steadfast leadership around Covid-19. Our Saskatchewan government implemented a strong plan to re-open the province, today we have the lowest unemployment rate in Canada. We are continuing to invest in infrastructure to get more people back to work and that brings me to why we’re gathered here today, to make an exciting announcement that will continue to build a stronger Saskatchewan. I know first hand how MEEP funding is investing in important infrastructure for the people of Moosomin while creating jobs.”

Moosomin Mayor Larry Tomlinson was pleased to be able to put the MEEP funding towards continuing infrastructure projects in Moosomin.

Tomlinson appreciates MEEP support

With plans to run again for mayor this fall to continue improving infrastructure in Moosomin, Tomlinson was appreciative the town received MEEP funding to put towards some of councils major projects.

“This is a wonderful event we’re having in our community with our Premier Scott Moe,” said Tomlinson. “The Covid-19 pandemic that hit the world this spring was a financial hit to everyone including the government and the town. To receive this funding to assist the town in providing infrastructure to our residents and taxpayers that they need in their everyday life for this community to survive and grow is greatly appreciated by everyone in this municipality. On behalf of council and myself personally, I want to thank the premier and all the members of the provincial government for recognizing that our communities needed this assistance and promptly providing the funding. We’re all in this together and it’s good to know the government is available for support when we need it.

Ellice Street has been a top priority for Tomlinson and it became a point of focus for him with the MEEP funding.

“We were very pleased to get it (MEEP funding),” said Tomlinson. “It’s helping us finish up some projects that we needed to get done. We’re having a lot of trouble with the old infrastructure of the town and that helped us finish up projects that we needed to do. Also, it’s helping us with a lot of paving that needed to be done and that’s where the money is going to go. The paving will mainly be on Ellice Street right from Park Avenue all the way to Windover Avenue. The MEEP funding will finish it up all the way to Windover and it’s really good to get that done that far.

“It was a nice experience for Premier Moe to come here,” Tomlinson said.

“It was nice of him to think of Moosomin as a major spot in the province and to come here.”