Provincial takeover of Wascana Centre hopes to smooth operations, says Doherty

The province announced it will be managing and operating Wascana Centre, home of the provincial legislature, which they claim will bring stability to its funding.

$5M earmarked for maintaining and renewing existing park infrastructure

The provincial government has taken over management and operation of Wascana Centre. (Bernard Gregory/SRC)

The provincial government is taking over management and operations of Regina's Wascana Centre.

The government says it will take a more "streamlined approach" to the park, which will bring stability to its funding. The park will form part of the Provincial Capital Commission. It is currently run by the Wascana Centre Authority.

A new act, the Provincial Capital Commission Act, was introduced that strips the statutory requirement that $782,000 be transferred from the province's general revenue fund to the Wascana Centre.

The move stems from review conducted six years ago by the City of Regina and the University of Regina, which said the past model was unsustainable.

'Incredibly difficult to get things done'

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Kevin Doherty recalled his time as minister responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission.

"It is incredibly difficult to get things done," he said. "At the same time, we have redundancy with respect to administration and costs associated with running this park."

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Doherty alluded to disagreements between the three partners — the provincial government, the City of Regina and the University of Regina — about what goes on in the park. Each partner owns specific lands within the park, which has created "long-standing difficulties in resolving" who pays for what and the development of the park, noting some land is leased to a farmer.

Doherty said the Minister of Central Services, Christine Tell, will work with the partners to have the Provincial Capital Commission take over the lands owned by the province and its costs. 

According to a government press release, the Wascana Centre partners will still have input into park decisions through a committee-type structure as part of the Provincial Capital Commission.

The 930-hectare area is home to the Legislative Building.

Reducing park funding

The province announced a 50 per cent reduction of regional park funding, including less money for the Meewasin Valley Authority, which will save the province $409,000. 

There are 35 provincial parks within Saskatchewan, and an additional 127 recreation sites. 

The government has committed $5.05 million to maintaining and renewing existing park infrastructure and facilities.

Earlier this year, the government announced an increase to camping fees throughout the province's parks