Despite the pleas of communities, businesses and families for help, the Sask. Party has still not fixed a flooded-out section of Highway 2.
Since May 5, a major highway in north central Saskatchewan has been closed because of flooding. Residents say the Sask. Party government is ignoring their calls for more help while businesses suffer and families struggle with the added challenges resulting from the highway closure.
“What I’m hearing from people is that they’re frustrated and they feel abandoned,” said NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon, who toured the area three weeks ago.
Steven Korecki, a teacher who lives in St. Louis and is a frequent commuter on Highway 2, said that his wife and baby are barely managing the lengthy Birch Hills detour for the baby’s frequent medical appointments.“There are real people living this nightmare,” he said, adding that their current frustration could become devastating in an emergency.
The Birch Hills detour also takes drivers away from St. Louis, where business owner Betty Rancourt said the flooded-out road has cut her garden nursery business by half this spring.
James Brake, who also owns a business in St. Louis, is frustrated by the Sask. Party government’s inaction. “Six weeks now,” he said. “Still no road. Still no pumping. Hundreds of people are affected by this.”
Residents have taken their complaints to the government. Some were told weeks ago that pumps would resolve the flooding – but little appears to have happened after an engineering report and resulting May announcement on a plan to use pumps. It appears to be much too little, far too late as the water level over the road is stagnant at nearly two feet.
“These people, along with families hitting Saskatchewan’s highways this summer, deserve better than to have their concerns dismissed,” said Wotherspoon. “The Sask. Party should admit its flood mitigation plan for Highway 2 didn’t work, and make solving this problem a priority.”
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus office