NDP commits to ending commercial development in the province's urban parks if elected
REGINA -- Several Regina NDP candidates gathered in Wascana Park on Saturday, pledging to end commercial development in Saskatchewan's urban parks if elected.
Nicole Sarauer, Carla Beck and Trent Wotherspoon also said the NDP would make the Provincial Capital Commission more independent of the government.
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“In Wascana Park the Sask. Party rammed through a sweetheart deal for its largest donor to build a commercial office building and charge at-market rates while leasing the land for a dollar,” Sarauer said in a release, taking aim at the controversial CNIB/Brandt development. “A New Democratic Party government will ensure that the Provincial Capital Commission operates independent of government control.”
The NDP also noted the 2019 Provincial Auditor’s Report that said the PCC needs to improve its process for approving developments in the park.
"While the Commission appropriately shared details about its review and approval procedures with two recent, major development projects' proponents, it neither gives the public sufficiently understandable information about these procedures nor provides clear information about each project's status," the report reads.
The project, which includes a new space for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, is still going through a multi-step approval process with the PCC.
In a statement, the Sask. Party responded to the announcement, saying the Auditor's recommendations have been accepted and enacted by the PCC.
"The approvals for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind building will continue to follow the process that has been laid out publicly," the statement reads.
Meanwhile, NDP Leader Ryan Meili was attending a northern campaign stop in Beauval with Athabasca incumbent candidate Buckley Belanger.
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A previous version of this story said the NDP planned to end commercial development in the province’s parks, reflecting a news release from the party. The NDP clarified the commitment is exclusive to Saskatchewan’s urban parks in a later release.