Information Shared at Open Houses for First Nations and Métis Locals

Information Shared at Open Houses for First Nations and Métis Locals

On July 27, 2021, the Water Security Agency (WSA) along with Clifton, Stantec and Associated Engineering (Prime Consultant) hosted an open house at the Dakota Dunes Resort in the Whitecap Dakota First Nation. The event provided an opportunity to share information with First Nations and Métis leadership on the preliminary studies being completed on the Westside Irrigation Project, as part of the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Projects.

A total of 31 participants, representing five First Nations and six Métis Locals or organizations, attended the open house. In addition to watching drone footage of the existing Westside Irrigation Project Main Canal, participants were also able to connect and interact with representatives from the WSA, government ministries and the Prime Consultant Team while reviewing project information displays. The displays are available HERE.

The main discussions centered around the economic impact of the project, employment opportunities, environmental issues, and potential effects on the long-term water supply. The information provided focused on the rehabilitation of the existing infrastructure and the expansion of the existing Westside Irrigation Project, built in the 1970s.

The Westside Rehabilitation Project is a great opportunity to upgrade the existing infrastructure with the potential to expand irrigation within the province. The rehabilitation work will increase the amount of irrigable land by 80,000 acres in the project area. The Westside Expansion Project will also add 260,000 acres irrigable land.  

The feedback and discussion items from the open house will be considered when developing the proposed design options for both the Westside Rehabilitation, and Westside Expansion Projects.

The WSA and the Prime Consultant Team will continue to build meaningful relationships and explore potential opportunities with First Nations and Métis Locals and organizations in Saskatchewan.

 

 

Public Open Houses a Major Success

Public Open Houses a Major Success

If two recent public open house events are any indication, there is a lot of interest and support for the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Projects (LDIP) and specifically the Westside Irrigation Projects.

The public open houses, held in July in Delisle and Outlook, provided an opportunity for the project representatives to share information with the public, while at the same time collect feedback on this infrastructure initiative. Attendance at each event was more than 160 people with participants including representatives from rural municipalities, elected officials, contractors and members of the general public.

The intent of the public open houses was to inform, educate and work collaboratively with local communities on the project to address local priorities. Those in attendance were engaged in the event and organizers were pleased with the local knowledge that was shared by the participants which resulted in lively and engaging discussions.

These events are important in keeping the public aware of the most current project information available. The project has been separated into three distinct parts: Westside Rehabilitation; Westside Expansion; and Qu’Appelle South Water Conveyance Project. Currently, the government is focused on the Westside Rehabilitation and Expansion projects with the plan to develop the Qu’Appelle South Water Conveyance Project in the future.

Field testing is currently underway and will help determine potential routes for the water distribution system. When the testing is complete and information processed, potential canal and pipeline routes will be presented to the public at future open houses.

For those who were unable to attend the recent open houses, a virtual presentation is available to organizations and groups. Additional public open houses will be scheduled in the future for further project details to be shared.

As a $4-billion water management infrastructure initiative, the LDIP will provide irrigation to approximately 500,000 acres of agricultural land in southern and central Saskatchewan. Increased irrigation will support the growth of diverse, high-value crops, which in turn will increase on-farm profitability, value-added processing opportunities, business attraction and employment.

The project will have many benefits and positive impacts on the provincial economy through job creation and revenue generation. It’s estimated the project with create 2,500 construction jobs every year during the build phase. It’s estimated that the gross domestic product (GDP) for Saskatchewan will grow by up to $80 million over the next 50 years when fully operational.

 

Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Projects Public Open Houses

Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Projects Public Open Houses

The Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Projects are one of Canada’s most unique development opportunities and are the largest infrastructure project in the province’s history. This made-in-Saskatchewan project is expected to be a 10-year water management infrastructure initiative that will eventually double the amount of irrigable land in the province.

The project has been separated into three parts: Westside Expansion, Westside Rehabilitation and Qu’Appelle South Water Conveyance Project.

At this time, the government is focused on the Westside Rehabilitation and Expansion Projects with an eye on developing the Qu’Appelle South Water Conveyance Project in the future.

When completed, this project will reinforce Saskatchewan’s position as a leader in global food security while building on the original vision of expanded irrigation for Lake Diefenbaker.

One of the keys to the overall success of the projects is ensuring open and timely two-way communication with all stakeholders.

Public open houses to discuss the West-side Irrigation portions of the project will be held in Delisle and Outlook on July 28 and 29. These initial face-to-face meetings will create foundational relationships by sharing project information and developing a better understanding of local priorities. The come-and-go public open house events are from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day.

The project leadership team is looking to inform, educate and work collaboratively with local communities on the project to address local priorities raised during the open house sessions.

The project will have many benefits and positive impacts on the provincial economy through job creation and services provided. The project will be looked at as a catalyst to help Saskatchewan workers and companies recover from the effects of the global pandemic.

The irrigation projects are also considered building blocks for regional economic development in the province.

At a time when there is great uncertainly across the globe, Saskatchewan is adding certainty to the Saskatchewan economy and food security by investing in expanded irrigation.

Increased irrigation will also support the growth of diverse, high-value crops, which increases on-farm profitability, value-added processing opportunities, business attraction and employment.

Not only are the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Projects the largest infrastructure projects in Saskatchewan’s history, they’re a vital step forward to realizing the irrigation potential of Lake Diefenbaker.

Public Open Houses

Wednesday July 28
Delisle Community Centre
3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Thursday July 29
Outlook Heritage Centre
3 p.m. to 8 p.m.