The CEO of the P.A. and District Chamber of Commerce says he's quietly confident the new premier of Saskatchewan will respond to a resounding call for a second bridge over the river.
Kelvin Pankiw was reacting to Scott Moe's election as SaskParty leader and premier-designate and said the chamber was “optimistic” Moe would be a champion of issues affecting the region, including a much-needed second crossing. Pankiw said he had a brief conversation with Moe last week.
“We’re just quietly confident that he and his representatives will be fairly receptive to any issue which furthers the cause of business in Prince Albert and district,” Pankiw told paNOW. “Certainly a second bridge is a very important issue.”
He added every business owner he’d spoken to said a second crossing was their number one priority and he noted Moe’s neck of the woods as the MLA in neighboring Rosthern-Shellbrook is helpful to that cause.
“People are excited to have someone from very nearby to be the premier,” Pankiw said. “Scott Moe would have crossed the Diefenbaker Bridge probably thousands of times and has likely heard the pleas from local business owners and residents to build a second bridge.”
The renewed talk of a huge diamond mining operation within 60 kilometres of P.A. through the Shore Gold/ Rio Tinto partnership has also fueled the need for the new infrastructure over the river.
“We need to be ready to answer the bell for all the positive economic spin-offs that a project like that will inevitably generate and being so close to Prince Albert,” Pankiw said. “An indispensable part of that equation is the construction of a second bridge.”
While the bridge is the chamber’s number one need from the province Pankiw added they would also ensure the call for a reduction in the business tax rate would also remain “front and centre.” That issue is in the hands of the city and Mayor Greg Dionne has promised to look at lowering the rate.
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