A ribbon cutting ceremony on a brand-new boardwalk with a scenic view of the Swift Current Creek celebrated the completion of a major infrastructure project in Swift Current.
Swift Current Mayor Al Bridal and Swift Current MLA Everett Hindley spoke during the media event to mark the successful conclusion of the project, July 15.
Bridal said the City is very proud of this project, which was carried out with funding support from both the federal and provincial governments. He expressed appreciation towards City staff for their effort to ensure the success of the project.
“I want to say thank you for the good job that they’ve done,” he mentioned. “Without leadership from our staff, projects like this couldn’t be done. There were all sorts of different things back here with the creek and getting permits and everything else, and lots of people don’t know, but these things don’t happen by just snapping your fingers. It takes hard work and I’m very proud of our staff and very proud of the job they’ve done.”
He noted that in most cases the response from residents to this project had been positive and he even received a couple of e-mails from tourists to say how wonderful it is.
“All of us on council have just heard numerous comments from people,” he said. “There’s been one or two negative comments. For every one or two negative, I literally have heard a hundred positive comments.”
The $5.9 million active pathways project added over 11 kilometres of new multi-use pathways and sidewalks in the community. It includes just over seven kilometres of asphalt pathway for pedestrians and cyclists and more than four kilometres of concrete sidewalk.
The 200-metre boardwalk was constructed along a section of the Swift Current Creek behind the Regier Honda dealership to extend the Chinook Parkway eastwards up to Highway No. 4. The project included the installation of benches, pathway lighting, new signage, shrubs and trees. There are eight tree clusters along the new pathways with about 10 trees per cluster.
The federal government contributed $2,398,606 (40 per cent) to the project through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and the Government of Saskatchewan provided $1,998,639 (33.33 per cent). The City of Swift Current funded the remaining portion of $1,599,271 (26.67 per cent).
“The idea of this from the federal government is they want us walking and biking more than driving our cars, and this here almost ties the whole city together,” he said. “And hopefully next year, if we can get the funding that we’ve requested for under the No. 4 Highway and No. 1, it will totally tie the city together. So you don’t have to cross a crosswalk to get across No. 4. You’ll be able to go under No. 4 and No. 1 highway.”
The project was completed below budget, and the City was able to reallocate the remaining funds to other capital projects in the community. The completion of the project mostly took place on schedule. An extension was required for the completion of the boardwalk due to a delay in receiving the steel required for the construction.
Swift Current MLA Everett Hindley spoke on behalf the Government of Saskatchewan and Minister of Government Relations Don McMorris.
“We’re proud to partner with the City of Swift Current and the Government of Canada to help support this project,” Hindley said. “It’s one of a number of projects around the province and I’m grateful as the local MLA that our community was able to benefit from some of these dollars provincially to extend the pathways around our city.”
He spoke about the benefits of these pathways in the community to enhance the quality of life of residents, because it helps to promote an active lifestyle and to connect with the outdoors.
“We’ve probably seen more use of our Chinook pathway over the last couple of years than we ever have before as a result of what we had during the pandemic and things being restricted and being encouraged to do things outside,” he said. “I think that was the case in other cities around Saskatchewan. They just saw such larger groups of people getting out on our pathways experiencing nature and Swift Current is no different in that, and this is just a great project.”
This project expanded the Chinook Parkway right up to Highway No. 4. City Parks Manager Michael Newell told the Prairie Post after the ribbon cutting that staff are working on the design aspects of a future expansion to take the pathway beyond Highway No. 4 and the Trans-Canada Highway to create a link with the Saskatchewan Valley subdivision.
This would add another seven to eight kilometres of pathway, but this future project will also require funding support from other government levels.
“We’ll put it into the 2023 capital budget, which I’m working on right now, and we’ll kind of go from there,” he said. “We’ll always look at grant opportunities. We definitely want that. It’s a great partnership for the City when we can apply to those grants and have them given to us so we can complete projects like this.”