Ottawa pledges money for 13 “at-risk” cultural projects in Saskatchewan

Funding for some projects in Saskatchewan which the province had said were in jeopardy if an infrastructure deal in place were not changed have been approved by the federal government.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Francois-Phillipe Champagne has a letter on his Twitter account showing funding for 13 of the province’s requested projects have been approved with the expectation being that other projects will also be approved with formal announcements coming.

This comes after the Saskatchewan government raised concerns about the time it was taking for Ottawa to approve a list of almost 30 projects submitted for infrastructure money as part of a 10-year cost-sharing agreement worth almost $900-million.

Deputy Premier Gord Wyant also signed a letter addressed to Regina-area Liberal MP Ralph Goodale saying a transfer was needed between two pots of money Ottawa had allocated to pay for recreation projects and transit ones.

The province accused Ottawa of being unresponsive, putting three cultural and recreational projects in Regina and Saskatoon at risk without transferring the transit money to the fund to pay for community infrastructure.

In his letter, Champagne outlines how the province can pay for the three project and  that work on the Gordie Howe Bowl, Shakepeare on the Saskatchewan and the Globe Theatre will be funded through a dedicated community culture and recreation envelope as part of an $896-million infrastructure deal signed in October.

Wyant responded in a statement, saying he’s disappointed the federal government denied the request to transfer the funds this year.

Wyant said his office is working to find out which 13 projects have been approved.

The government says its funding for the three projects is being considered.


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