As you may have seen in the news recently a new tourism initiative has been set up by some local businesses here in Moose Jaw.
By Samantha Emann, special to the Times-Herald
While I think this plan is a good one, there is one particular problem that lies outside the control of those private businesses.
Moose Jaw has many interesting and fun sights and venues. And the city can only benefit from this new initiative. But unfortunately if people cannot get to these amenities, or anywhere else around the city, having that great museum or park or restaurant is not going to do much good.
While the city has announced that more money will be put towards road and water main maintenance I fear it will fall short.
Moose Jaw has allocated over $2 million to cast iron water main replacements.That is four times the usual amount of money that has been allocated to this task in previous years. Last year the city’s engineering department was given $600,000 for the same purpose, and recently they reported to council that roughly 400 metres of cast iron water mains had been worked on.
It seems more staff are needed and not more funds. Let us hope that quadrupling the budget for this task means more than four times that amount of work will actually get done.
I say this because, to put the problem in perspective, the city has 80 kilometres of cast iron water mains and about 50 percent have already reached or exceeded life expectancy with the other half coming up on expectancy in 30 years or less.
This is not completely the fault of only the current administration but of a backlog of neglect on the part of multiple administrations over an extended period of time. I do not envy the mess this council and administration are being forced to shoulder but that does not change the facts and those facts are glaring us in the face.
One only has to walk down Moose Jaw’s main drag to see its infrastructure issues in a nutshell. Malfunctioning traffic lights, massive potholes and the occasional blocked off section of sidewalk due to a broken water main have all been common eyesores this past year alone.
This would not only prevent tourists from getting to the attractions they want to but may also be an impediment to them ever wanting to return. Multiple letters to the editor published in this paper have shown citizens’ and tourists’ dissatisfaction with the city’s infrastructure with,”I loved Moose Jaw, but the roads were horrible” being the common theme.
Coming from a bigger city I have seen my fair share of bad roads and too-long-put-off maintenance, but in a smaller city like Moose Jaw I think it is not only more noticeable but has a larger impact.
There is no use in promoting and improving tourist attractions until you have the infrastructure to support the resulting rise in tourism.
With spring around the corner and summer not too far off it will be interesting to see what does or does not get done.
The old saying if you build it they will come assumes that the road leading there will be usable.