Recently, PC Party Leader Rick Swenson toured the flooded areas near the Quill Lakes and then attended the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority (SWA) open house regarding the situation in Wynyard.
Mr. Swenson noted “These lakes have come up over 20 feet. It is an absolutely incredible amount of water to stand on the shore and behold. There is no question in my mind that there are no short-term solutions to the problems. It will be many, many years before some of this land is usable again for agricultural purposes, if at all.”
“The government’s proposed $19 million plan consists of a huge dyke around the southwest corner of Big Quill Lake and the diversion of a small creek into Last Mountain Lake instead of the Quill Lakes. This plan which deals with 7% of the water going into the Quills will do nothing but save a portion of the CPR rail track and a couple of miles of Highway #6.” Swenson also pointed out “There is not one dollar in the $19 million price tag allocated to owners of the agricultural land affected.”
Swenson stated “The first priority of government should be to compensate those individuals and families that have lost their equity and the ability to make a living around the lakes.”
“Comments I have heard from these open houses are that the government's solution is no solution at all. The bureaucrats involved have no idea what good long-term planning to this problem is and seem focused on implementing the cheapest alternative.” Swenson added.
“This government dog and pony show which has travelled through Bulyea, Regina Beach, Wynyard and Quill Lakes has made no sense to anyone who attended because there are no good long term solutions being presented. It appears the Sask Party government is trying to take the heat off the Sask Party MLAs in that region who have sat on their hands for years and done nothing. They are just buying time to get through the next election campaign.”
“Many local people told me that the Quill Lakes are now home to fish and other aquatic life that didn't exist there in recent years. Perhaps this change in Quill Lakes water means it could be substituted for the high quality water out of Lake Diefenbaker that currently supplies the nearby potash industry. Our supplies of high quality mountain water in the Saskatchewan river system needs to be safeguarded for future generations of Saskatchewan citizens. We could do that by substituting Quill Lakes water, and help control the lake level”
Swenson added “That type of thinking would be too long-term and visionary for our Sask Party government. It is obvious to me the Sask Party government is more interested in winning elections than providing good leadership on this issue.”