Dionne and Rancourt call budget ‘devastating’ for Prince Albert

Prince Albert Northcote MLA Nicole Rancourt

As the government gets ready to hand out $3.7 billion in capital spending, Prince Albert isn’t getting much on its wish list.

Over the next year, Crown Corporations plan to invest $2.1 billion in infrastructure, while government ministries will spend $1.6 billion on capital projects. That includes about $500 million for the Regina Bypass, over $300 million for joint-use schools in four communities and $155 million for a hospital in North Battleford.

But Wednesday’s budget doesn’t include any specific funding commitments for Prince Albert. It doesn’t earmark any spending for a second bridge over the North Saskatchewan River, or for a new regional hospital.

The city will also see a major drop in municipal revenue sharing payments from the province. The payments are set to decrease from $7.7 million to $6.8 million. That’s likely fallout from disappointing census numbers, which showed weak growth in the city’s population.

Mayor Dionne said he doesn’t want to comment about the budget until he’s studied all the numbers, but did say “it will be devastating” for Prince Albert.

Prince Albert Northcote’s MLA, Nicole Rancourt, used the same language as the mayor, calling the budget “devastating.” She said it’s only the latest chapter in a long line of budgetary neglect.

For more on this story, including comment from Minister Joe Hargrave, see the March 23 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.