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  • admin 15:26 on 29/01/2019  

    REGINA – The Opposition NDP says the Saskatchewan government should follow Alberta’s lead and scrap plans to build nine joint-use schools through public-private partnerships.

    The Alberta government has said it would cost $14 million more to build 19 schools through a P3 arrangement and has abandoned the idea.

    It says the right choice for students, parents and taxpayers is to use traditional financing.

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    Trent Wotherspoon, the Saskatchewan NDP’s education critic, argues using a P3 model to build schools costs more and can take longer to get shovels in the ground.

    “What we’re calling on this government to do is see the light of day, to learn from Alberta, to learn from Nova Scotia that wasted a whole bunch of money and to save tax payers money and stop wasting time…and build the schools that we need for this province and do so in the traditional way,” he said.

    The Saskatchewan government says the province is still interested in a public-private partnership and points out that Alberta saved money on its first batch of P3 schools.

    The CEO of the crown corporation, Sask Builds added that Alberta saved money in the past when there were multiple bidders on projects. Rupen Pandya said he expects Saskatchewan to attract multiple bidders because the projects here are different than in Alberta.

    “The last bundle of schools, the fourth in Alberta, is geographically dispersed. There’s a mix of high schools and elementary schools. The Saskatchewan schools are all concentrated, essentially in urban centres; we have schools in Martensville and Warman which are just outside of Saskatoon, but from a market perspective, they’re essentially urban. They’re all elementary schools,” Pandya said.

    Pandya also explained that Saskatchewan will have an independent report done for each P3 to look at value for money.

    ©2014The Canadian Press

     
  • admin 15:26 on 29/01/2019  

    CALGARY- One year after the 2013 June flood, Kananaskis Country continues to rebuild. Over 300 millimetres of rain fell in the mountain park, sprouting pop-up mountain creeks that quickly became angry rivers gnawed through highways and bridges. About 1,200 people had to evacuate from the park, including many who became stranded.

    “Everyone had their close calls throughout the flood…mine was a little dramatic,” says Gareth Short, a Kananaskis park ranger.

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    Short could have drowned when his truck broke through the damaged Rocky Creek bridge. Well after midnight on June 20, 2013, he was headed north on Highway 40 after checking some mudslides further south. From his truck, the bridge appeared to be in good shape.

    “I didn’t know it at the time, but the water had eroded all the soft material underneath this asphalt and left it hanging in the air,” he remembers. “I took it at 60 or 70 kilometres an hour and I felt a large, jarring jolt to my front end. My front wheels actually caved in a portion of that asphalt.”

    Instead of sliding backwards into the three metre by three metre hole and down into the icy, fast moving creek, Short got a flood miracle that night.

    “My truck sort of skipped over the hole, my back end went in, shattered my leaf springs, and I ended up on all four tires on this side of the bridge.”

    “I don’t know how exactly I ended up being as lucky as I was.”

    Minutes later, his luck — and foresight — would also save the life of RCMP Cpl. Jane Boehr, who works out of the K-Country detachment.

    She had stopped further south on Highway 40 at Grizzly Creek.  She could see water on the road, but not how much.

    “I sat there probably for five to 10 minutes trying to figure out what I needed to do,” Boehr says.

    Eventually, through the downpour, she spotted a road sign flickering ominously ahead, and made a frightening realization.  Had she continued to drive she would have run straight into a wall of water, flowing about two metres deep over the road.

    “The water was just pouring over this road sign, and… it would ebb and flow up and down,” she says.  “I don’t know if you would have been able to stop in time, it was so dark out.”

    She turned around and headed back north towards the bridge that crumbled under Gareth Short’s truck as he drove over it minutes earlier. Fortunately, he radioed her to tell her about his experience at Rocky Creek, and warned her not to try and cross.  It would be a second close call for the officer in just a few minutes.

    “That would have been a whole different story. I potentially could have ended up in the creek,” she says.

    But the police officer was now stranded near a steep slope, between two raging creeks. During her career, she has she has worked  through a tornado and an armed standoff.  She says spending the night in her truck next to a steep slope where she was vulnerable to another mudslide, was “more” harrowing.

    “I was scared.  At one point it was like, I have no control.  That’s when you really realize you have no control.”

    20 hours later, a helicopter plucked her out — one of 70 rescue flights during what would be a massive evacuation of the entire park.

    “No one was hurt, no one was injured in Kananaskis during that evacuation, and I think we can be proud of that,” says Michael Roycroft, manager of Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park.

    Among the evacuees was a group of 16 Grade 12 students from Prairie Christian Academy in Three Hills. They were on a school camping trip to Carnavon Lake, in the Highwood Pass area. They were wet, cold and stranded in the backcountry, with a lot of people very worried about them.

    “The rain was too thick, we couldn’t get in, and we tried literally three times. It was the third time we got in and we were finally able to sling them out,” Roycroft remembers. He was helping coordinate the evacuations from the Emergency Operations Centre in Canmore.

    “They said afterwards they weren’t sure they were going to make it another night…there was some very appreciative parents and teachers, that we got their kids back,” Roycroft added emotionally, tearing up.

    It was one of over 70 rescue flights, with support from the army. Frank Doll and his wife were camping at Mt. Kidd RV Park in Kananaskis when soldiers knocked on their trailer door. Bridge washouts on Highway 40 on either side of the RV park had stranded everyone in the campground.

    “The army trucks were on the other side of the washout so we went down ladders and so on and loaded up into the backs of these [army] trucks, Doll says. “Good people helped us out and we’re very thankful for sure.”

    The students who were rescued from high in the backcountry were cold but uninjured. The school now has a satellite phone it sends along on all camping trips.  Their bus was stuck near Highwood Junction for several months after the flood until the highway was repaired.

     
  • admin 15:26 on 29/01/2019  

    Watch the video above: Cost of living increases make for creative education savings

    SASKATOON – As tuition fees across Saskatchewan continue to rise, parents are pinching pennies to put children through post-secondary schooling.

    Kelly Dash is the mother of four-year-old Jack and 16-month-old Joe.

    She and her husband have been balancing the cost of the bare necessities of life with activities their boys are involved in, like soccer and blastball.

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    Related

    • Paying for tuition especially difficult for Sask students, says report

    • Students must work 3 times the hours to pay for skyrocketing tuition

    “We’re just doing our best. We’re trying to save as much as we can put away,” said Dash.

    “It can just be overwhelming at times; knowing the right place to commit your money to make sure it’s the right growth for when they need it.”

    It is a struggle parents nationwide can understand.

    Tuition and compulsory fees in Saskatchewan ranked fourth-highest in Canada in 2012-13.

    These costs are projected to hit $7,912 in 2016-17, according to a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

    Blogger and mother of three, Tenille Lafontaine, knows what it takes to be Feisty, Frugal & Fabulous. Parents frequent her blog looking for advice and recommendations.

    Saving hard earned cash is, as the title of the blog would suggest, a hot topic.

    “Parents want to find ways to do it that’s easy and not really impacting their life a lot,” explains Lafontaine.

    “Definitely couponing, coupon apps, consignment sales. If you’re going to put clothing in a garage sale or kids’ items in a garage sale – take that money and put that into an RESP.”

    Saskatoon-based financial advisor Sarah King says parents need to sit down and have an open discussion about money.

    Parents are advised to decide where money is best spent and what type of position they would like to be in.

    “I think right away, as soon as the baby is born, you get a social insurance number. You can start into an RESP. It can be as little as $25 a month,” said King, with Independent Financial Services.

    Four out of ten students graduate debt-free from post-secondary institutions, according to the Canadian University Survey Consortium Graduating Student survey.

    Thirty per cent of debt-saddled grads wind up owing less than $12,000. On average, they owe $24,600.

     
  • admin 15:26 on 29/01/2019  

    CALGARY- Despite a State of Emergency being issued due to flood fears, the city of Medicine Hat says it doesn’t think people will need to evacuate their homes.

    An updated forecast from Environment Canada shows a peak river flow of 2,400 cubic metres per second by Saturday, which is half of what was originally anticipated.

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    Related

    • Medicine Hat declares state of emergency amid flood fears

    • High River not expected to flood, as rainfall warning ends

    • State of Emergency continues in several southern Alberta communities

    Crews are still working to shore up areas that could be affected, but it appears the South Saskatchewan River won’t rise as much as initially feared.

    An emergency operations centre was opened last Tuesday, and an evacuation centre was set up.

    READ MORE: Several southern Alberta communities under state of emergency

    Sean Balfour’s home was flooded last year, and on Thursday he was out sandbagging, saying he’d rather be safe than sorry.

    “Most of us haven’t even finished rebuilding from last year, it’s exasperating,” he said. “It’s very tiring, it’s a huge weight on our shoulders.”

    During the 2013 floods, 10,000 people in Medicine Hat were forced to leave their homes, and hundreds of homes were flooded.

    -With files from the Canadian Press and CHAT 

     
  • admin 15:26 on 29/01/2019  

    REGINA – New motorcycle laws have taken effect in Saskatchewan.

    Riders in the motorcycle graduated driver licensing (MGDL) program must now display a placard on their motorcycle plate. Learner riders have to display a red “L” while novice 1 and 2 riders are required to display a green “N”.

    Another change is the hours MGDL learners can ride. Riding is not allowed from one-half hour before sunset to one-half hour after sunrise.

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    Related

    • Saskatchewan gives green light to tougher rules for new motorcycle riders

    • Motorcycle safety a team effort: SGI

    There are also new equipment requirements for those in the program. MGDL riders must now have arms and legs covered, wear hand-covered gloves, boots that cover ankles and an approved three-quarter, modular or full-face helmet.

    Starting July 16, people wanting to get a motorcycle learner’s licence must hold a Class 5 or higher license and have either passed a basic ability test or completed an approved motorcycle training program beforehand.

    A change that affects all riders is an increase in safe driver recognition and driver improvement program points for certain traffic convictions.

    Also, inspections are now required for all motorcycles deemed a total loss or that were most recently registered in another jurisdiction.

    The province approved the changes after the recommendations were made by the motorcycle review committee earlier this year.

     
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