RM of Prince Albert recognized for Municipal Centre project

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The RM of Prince Albert’s new Municipal Centre was awarded the Top Rural Initiative for the 17th annual Saskatchewan Municipal Awards.

The RM of Prince Albert received recognition at the 17th annual Saskatchewan Municipal Awards for the development of the RMs new Municipal Centre.

Reeve Eric Schmalz was shocked to win the award for Top Rural Initiative for the complex.

“It was a pleasant surprise when we were told that we had won,” Schmalz said. “It was something that we didn’t expect, but it was a pleasant surprise and very rewarding to be recognised in that fashion.”

Schmaltz said the project took a long time to come to fruition. The complex celebrated its grand opening in August of 2023.

“It was a team effort,” he said. “We made a lot of concessions, we spent a lot of time diligently pouring over plans to make sure that we had the right cost to benefit for our taxpayers and to make sure that we will have a usable facility long into the future.”

The new centre is located north of the Highway 11 and Highway 2 junction. It was built on 400 acres of land along Highway 2 intended for commercial and residential development, according to its website.

The RM of Prince Albert concept is a municipal centre that encompasses the RM shop and office and is equipped to be the RM Emergency Response Center. The centre offers meeting space and amenities and the area is expanding with multiple enterprises emerging in their design phases.

“It’s not a dedicated emergency response centre but it can act as one should there be an emergency that happens,” Schmaltz explained. “(If) there’s some kind of an evacuation or a place to congregate for evacuation, that could all take place at the RM Municipal Centre.”

The new facility replaces the RM’s two previous locations, the maintenance shop on Phelps Drive and the administrative office downtown.

“We knew we needed to expand to be able to accommodate the growing needs of our municipality (and) to be able to service the needs of the ratepayers,” Schmaltz said.

The municipal office and shop facility is also the first building to be constructed inside Signature Developments’ new commercial and residential project located in the RM.

Schmalz said that he hoped getting recognized for this concept would spur other municipalities to develop projects that expand the commercial sector.

“It’s not just expanding the tax base, you are expanding the prospects for employment, for business development, for people to set up their own businesses for the employment for, for your citizens of your community,” Schmalz said.

“These things are all important aspects and it needs to be looked at by all councils at all levels of government. It’s a pretty important thing that to maintain the livelihood and the viability of our rural communities and region,” he added.

The Saskatchewan Municipal Awards celebrate the excellent and innovative practices of Saskatchewan’s municipal governments. Four innovative projects from five municipalities are being recognized for the 17th Annual Saskatchewan Municipal Awards. This year’s winners have shown excellence in municipal infrastructure, cooperation, and addressing community needs.

The RM of Prince Albert project was one of five winners in the Saskatchewan Municipal Awards. Top Municipal Initiative was the new Mechanical Wastewater Treatment Facility in the City of Lloydminster. The winning practice was creating a new multi-jurisdictional, bi-provincial wastewater treatment plant requiring collaboration from leaders in all levels of government. Resulting in improved quality of treated effluent entering the North Saskatchewan River and achieving a fair agreement that benefited residents of both Alberta and Saskatchewan residents.

Top Urban Municipal Initiative was the Southland Co-op Centre in Assiniboia. The winning practice was the replacement of the old rink with a new state of the art recreation facility that

supports the health and wellness of the community and has increased tourism to the area. The centre contains a walking track, NHL-sized ice surface, Multi Purpose Gym, Climbing Walls, Simulator room and more.

The winner for regional cooperation was Outlook-Rudy Joint Protective Services, which is a partnership between the Town of Outlook and RM of Rudy. The winning practice was the Town of Outlook and the RM of Rudy No. 284 worked together to address concerns raised over the long-term viability of fire and rescue services by addressing a need to repair relationships within the region.

The winning projects were selected by the Saskatchewan Municipal Awards Committee who reviewed 12 nominations, submitted on behalf of 28 municipalities.

Each year, the awards committee is made up of partners from the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA), New North, the Rural Municipal Administrators’ Association of Saskatchewan (RMAA), the Urban Municipal Administrator Association of Saskatchewan (UMAAS) and the Ministry of Government Relations (GR).

The winners will be celebrated at the SARM Annual Convention and Tradeshow on March 13 and the SUMA 2024 Convention and Tradeshow on April 16. Both events will be taking place at the REAL District in Regina.