Skip to content

Estevan mayor enjoyed his final SUMA convention

Most members of Estevan city council were at this year's convention.
Mayor Roy Ludwig 1
Mayor Roy Ludwig.

ESTEVAN - The annual conventions for the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association – held from April 14-17 in Regina – provided an opportunity for elected officials to gather and discuss issues facing their communities.

Mayor Roy Ludwig said topics covered included economic development, the environment, intergovernmental affairs, health and safety, addictions, mental health, disaster management and more. Educational sessions included how to restore harmony in municipal roles and conflict resolution, which are two things that Ludwig believes are needed these days.

Delegates also discussed modernizing the understanding of property assessment, which Ludwig said is beneficial because of confusion associated with the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency. A trade show had lots of information.

In addition to the breakout sessions and discussions, Premier Scott Moe delivered his annual convention to the delegates on Monday. Sector meetings were held among the cities. The opposition New Democratic Party had their chance to address the delegates on Tuesday. A banquet was held Tuesday night, and the annual bear-pit session, which allows delegates to pose questions to cabinet ministers, was held on Wednesday.

"During the bear pit, Coronach did bring up what your plans are for the future of coal to the premier. They're struggling in Coronach with people in power [generation] leaving the community," said Ludwig.

The premier reiterated claims that the government is looking to keep conventional coal as a power option beyond 2030 despite the federal government's wishes. The current Saskatchewan government wants to keep coal-fired plants going until small modular reactors are operating in around 2035.

Ludwig believes at least six SMRs will be needed in the province.

Estevan MLA Lori Carr, who is the minister for Highways and Infrastructure, was among the participating MLAs for the bear pit.

All 11 resolutions that were brought forward were approved. Among the issues covered were: giving municipalities more local autonomy for enforcing bylaws; supporting and growing the public library system; funding for Saskatchewan urban parks; increasing financial support for fire services; the authority for closing highways during adverse weather; bringing in more nurse practitioners; crop spray drift notifications; adding unpaid fines to taxes; providing more supports for animal controls; allocating infrastructure funding for fire departments; and providing more support for municipalities so they can better deal with problematic harassment from members of the public.

"In a lot of these smaller municipalities – villages and towns – this whole issue with negative people badgering the local communities with questions and questions and questions, some of the local politicians … are being followed and being harassed. It's a huge issue and they're asking for help from the province to counteract this."

A lot of municipal politicians are leaving, Ludwig said, and communities are having a hard time getting people to run.

The mayor noted a few resolutions aren't approved by delegates most years.

All members of council were in attendance at SUMA, with the exception of Coun. Travis Frank. It was also the final time at SUMA as a member of council for Ludwig, who announced last year that he wouldn't be seeking re-election.

Ludwig noted SUMA organizers have been working to make the convention more interesting each year, through the feedback they receive from delegates.