4 highlights in throne speech: PA Chamber of Commerce

By Sarah Stone
October 24, 2013 - 4:45pm

With the Saskatchewan throne speech presented and the legislative assembly back in session, Prince Albert locals are looking at what that means for the city.

CEO of the Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce Merle Lacert said he saw four areas in the throne speech that could benefit Prince Albert in the long run.

The Home First pilot project is one of those areas.

“[It] will hold some good things for Prince Albert and I know that our health region is quite excited to get the funding. So hopefully we’ll see what that will do to mitigate some of the impacts occurring with long-term care,” said Lacert.

This pilot program and a $2 million investment in the Home First/Quick Response program is meant to help cut down the number of hospital admissions for seniors and help them stay at home longer to reduce how many people are entering long-term care.

Education is a key in the speech that will improve the city, point out Lacert. To help alleviate a shortage of skilled workers in Saskatchewan, the government said it will create 1,000 new training seats, which includes 700 new adult basic education seats and 300 new apprenticeship seats.

“It’s a critical first step. It’s building labour, it’s like building anything—education is primary,” Lacert said.

Lacert noticed another item in the speech that would help Prince Albert in the long run. A manufacturing centre to focus on innovation as well as to provide First Nations and Metis people with skills training will be built in the future. However, he said it won’t be directly affect the city at this time.

“We’ll be watching their intentions of building a manufacturing centre of excellence. Of course, in Prince Albert, we would very much like to see an increase in the manufacturing sector. Perhaps this could be something there,” he said.

The final highlight Lacert pointed out that he feels will benefit Prince Albert is the upgrades running through a P3 structure that aims to allow the government to advance various capital projects more quickly while reducing costs.

“Once completed it will have a dramatic and profound impact,” he said.

In the speech it is outlined that the Northern Fibre Expansion Project will see 566 kilometres of new fibre placed through the North to bring high-speed bandwidth.

“In regards to the fibre optics it can allow various companies that are operating up North to basically have or be connected, so that will basically make their operations quicker, faster, more efficient and if they are doing business with Prince Albert, Prince Albert region it will definitely be a positive,” Lacert said.

He finished by adding they’ll be in the spring 2014 budget to see initiatives that are directly at Prince Albert “to improve our community. Where a lot of [the throne speech] were more supportive and not so much direct.”

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On Twitter: @sarahstone84

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