SGEU president eager to see organization put down roots in Prince Albert
Saskatchewan Government Employees Union (SGEU) officially broke ground on their new office site in Prince Albert on Monday.
SGEU members, activists, and staff were joined by city officials for the ceremony. New SGEU President Tracey Sauer manned the shovel to officially break ground for the new building, which will house SGEU offices and staff.
“We have been a part of the PA culture and in the city for quite a few years already with a rented space, but we always felt that we wanted to let the city know and our members know that we have roots,” Sauer said. “How do you display roots other than build your own? We are here to stay and we are excited to be here.”
The purpose of the future building is to house SGEUs Prince Albert operations and provide a base for staff members to meet. The office will be located at 435 40th Street East. Sauer said the location was perfect.
Building committee chair Carol Yuzik found the location, and made a presentation on it. Sauer said that was vital to the process.
“We are extremely excited to be next to the restaurant there because we go there quite a bit to the Starlight,” Sauer said. “It’s a wonderful way to support local.”
The building will be approximately 8,000 sq ft and contain office space, meeting rooms and other services to aid union members in Prince Albert.
“Our members are throughout all of Saskatchewan, so how do you serve them? (You) give them the opportunity to go to the office, talk to their labour relations office, (and) allow them meeting room and space if they need it.” Sauer said.
Yuzik explained that the process has been ongoing for several years and it took several steps to get to the ground-breaking ceremony.
“We bought the property probably about three and a half years ago—maybe three years ago—to start and then we kind of started to put it through our processes and through provincial council,” Yuzik said.
That process helped to make the building a perfect fit for members. Everyone is involved in planning.
“We always believed in being as inclusive as possible in what we do, (and) that is with our buildings as well,” Sauer said.
Yuzik credited aodbt architecture and interior design for being a great firm to work with on the design.
“It has been an interesting experience,” Yuzik said.
There is no hard date for completion but they expect to be completed by summer of 2022.
“We were hoping to be sooner but every time you are doing something there are little bumps and surprises along the way,” Sauer said. “But again, our construction company and everybody is so great to work with because we worked through all of that very well.”
The new office will serve SGEU membership in Prince Albert and the entire region. That includes the north and membership as far as Melfort and Tisdale—the office will be a central hub.
SGEU represents 20,000 members in six sectors across Saskatchewan, including more than 1,000 members in Prince Albert itself
“We have three buildings, we have one in Saskatoon, one in Regina and one in Prince Albert,” Sauer said.
“We’ve got some offices for all of our labour relations officers plus we have offices for myself if I need to use it, our directors if they need to use it, plus a very large convention/meeting space that we can divide off for smaller groups. We are so excited just to let everybody know that we are here and we are here to stay, we believe in Prince Albert and we believe in our members work that they do here. We can’t wait, it’s time,” Sauer said.
In her speech she thanked Prince Albert city councillors Charlene Miller, Tony Head, Dawn Kilmer and Don Cody for coming out to celebrate as well as Jason Hurd from aodbt and Stefanie Swann the president of VCM Construction.
In her speech, she noted that SGEU is also excited about possible economic spinoffs creating jobs in Prince Albert and reviving the property.
Cody, speaking on behalf of the City said that without SGEU in the community it would not be the same community.
“You are a strong voice in our community, you are strong working people in our community and we enjoy every minute of the time we have to work with you,” Cody said.
Cody congratulated SGEU for picking the site and picking Prince Albert as a branch office.
“We are really proud that you picked this particular spot. SGEU, as you know, has a strong, strong following in our community and we certainly appreciate the fact that you decided to build your branch office here. It is important to us as a city and it’s important to the public. The more commerce we can get the better,” he explained
“We certainly thank you kindly and let me say on behalf of our Mayor Greg Dionne, who was not able to be here today and my colleagues here we want to say congratulations on your new office building,” Cody added.
First Vice President Diane Ralph, Prince Albert councillors, VCM Construction and aodbt representatives joined Sauer in the sod turning ceremony.
“This has really been a total group effort from our provincial council, administration, our building committee, (and) our staff,” Sauer said. “Everybody has pitched in to make sure that this is the building we need to meet our member’s needs.”