Higgins stresses strategic plan, visibility in discussion
Mayor Deb Higgins has a message for the critics of Moose Jaw.
© Times-Herald file photo
Mayor Deb Higgins discussed the issues facing the city as it moves into budget discussions. Infrastructure was a key topic.
"I understand that people have been patient, and I know that. People have been patient, and they've been pretty understanding," Higgins said. "I think we need to be a little better at getting our job done, and having a long-term plan."
For the mayor, visibility is also a concern.
"I think people are understanding if they can see some work being accomplished and improvements being made," she said. "That's our challenge, as a city council with advice from administration: we need to make sure that people are seeing improvements and understand that work is being done."
Higgins sat down with the Times-Herald Wednesday to discuss the city's priorities and some of the key issues it faces while moving into the budget process this fall. Infrastructure was a key topic of the discussion.
"There is a number of things on the go right now," she explained. "Of course, the day-to-day maintenance and repair of potholes is an issue. There's also repair of emergency situations, where we've had water main breaks and issues with the sewer lines. … Those are just ongoing, and they're day-to-day issues with the city.
"As a council, what we're looking at is more long-term. In our build-up to budget, we've had a number of planning meetings that will help keep us informed," added Higgins. "For sure, infrastructure is a priority for this council."
She said the city would benefit from a solid strategic plan for infrastructure.
"We really need to sit down and take a good analysis of what we have, and put in place a long-term plan, and then figure out where we can find the money to move forward with this," said Higgins.
"I think we are past the point of being able to ignore infrastructure — long past. … We just have to put a plan in place and figure out how we're going to be able to … see some good infrastructure renewal in the City of Moose Jaw."
Money is going to be key to any infrastructure renewal or development projects, she said — and being prepared and having the right mindset is vital to securing those funds.
"We often talk about how it would be nice if the province or the federal government put programs in place that would help communities rebuild infrastructure," Higgins said. "You can't sit back and wait for that to happen.
"We need to do our planning. We need to make sure we understand what needs to be replaced, what needs to be rebuilt, what kind of dollars it's going to cost us, and if and when a program is put forward, that we're ready to go."
"We can't just sit back and wait for the program," Higgins added. "We need to be more proactive and do whatever work we can, on our own. That's going to be the focus of this year's budget, for sure."