The Sask. Party’s mismanaged bypass went from costing Saskatchewan people $400 million to $2 billion. And much like the price tag, the number of concerns around the project that the Sask. Party put in the hands of a foreign conglomerate has ballooned.
- Truck drivers find the Regina bypass roundabouts too small to navigate;
- When a truck got stuck in a roundabout, trapping diverted truck traffic in the town of Balgonie due to a blocked exit, it took more than 12 hours for the conglomerate to actually do something about it;
- The then-Deputy Minister to the Premier and later Sask. Party leadership candidate Alanna Koch dismissed the frustrations of Balgonie residents over the Regina Bypass’ clustertruck as “urban myth hysteria”;
- Over 1,100 minor deficiencies have so far been detected in phase one alone.
As for major deficiencies? Well, the Sask. Party can’t quite decide whether there were or weren’t any.
(Spoiler alert: there were. But we don’t know how many, or how much they cost to repair because the Sask. Party won’t say.)
This week, current Highways Minister Lori Carr said twice in the Legislature, “there are no major deficiencies on this bypass.”
This is puzzling, when a Freedom of Information request revealed a list of major deficiencies in an email from an official in highways, with the details redacted. And Former Highways Minister David Marit admitted there were major deficiencies, listing a breached aquifer on Wascana Creek as an example.
Does the Sask. Party think that redacting information makes it go away? That would explain a lot about their approach to transparency.
Stories are changing, information is being withheld, and redacted information is being treated as redacted reality — but taxpayers are still on the hook for the huge cost.
With $2 billion of public money on the line with this project, you’d think the Sask. Party government could be straight with the people who have to pay the bill.