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The start of summer memories

MLA Warren Michelson's column for the week of May 15, 2019
Moose Jaw North MLA Warren Michelson

The May long weekend signifies the start of the summer outdoor recreational season throughout Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan’s provincial Parks open for the 2019 season this Thursday, May 16. Our provincial parks provide great opportunities for a wide variety of outdoor activities. Campers can take in the fresh spring air, enjoy activities on the water, explore hiking trails as nature blooms, or relax with friends and family.

There was good news in April concerning our local Buffalo Pound Provincial Park. The Government of Saskatchewan announced funding for a new swimming pool for the park. The old one was irreparable and demolished last fall. While there will not be a public pool in place this summer, construction of the new pool complex will begin soon and continue through fall and early winter.

The new swimming pool at Buffalo Pound provincial park is being designed to meet the needs of a wide range of users. The facility will include a sloped accessible entry for young children or anyone with mobility concerns. The deeper portion of the pool will accommodate lane swimming and swimming lessons. A new change-house and a building containing mechanical systems and admission services will be added. Some existing facilities will be re-purposed, which will result in cost savings to the project.

Summer family activities make for some of our most treasured memories. Good safety practices can make a difference in the kind of memories we will have at the end of the holiday season. To increase safety for everyone using the provincial parks this coming long weekend, an alcohol ban will apply in all campgrounds and picnic areas within provincial parks and recreation sites. The same rules also apply to Cannabis use in in parks this weekend as well.

Summer always seems too short in Saskatchewan, so we try to pack a lot into our few warm months. There is so much going on besides recreation; building construction, highway construction, and farming and ranching activity. It takes a concentrated effort to pay attention to safety in all areas.

When enjoying the outdoors, protection from the sun and insects will make for a more enjoyable time. Boating and water safety can’t be emphasized enough. Statistics indicate young children ages 1 to 4 and men ages 15 to 44 are at the greatest risk of drowning. The absence of effective adult supervision is a factor in 75 per cent of deaths by drowning for children under the age of 10. There is no safe way to mix alcohol and drugs with boating. Every year hundreds of people die as a result of boating-related activities. Almost 65 per cent of these deaths involve the use of alcohol.

SaskPower reminds farm and construction machinery operators to “Look Up and Live.” Plan work in advance, lower equipment and use a spotter to prevent contact with overhead power lines. In May of last year, there were 154 reports of farm machinery coming in contact with electrical equipment. Safety initiatives should help to reduce the number of incidents in 2019.

The highways will be busy this long weekend. This year, the province will invest more than $350 million to upgrade about 1,000 km of highways across Saskatchewan. This includes intersection safety improvements at Highway 1 and the Mosaic potash mine and passing lanes on Highway 2 between Moose Jaw and Chamberlain. For the safety of our highway construction workers, and for your own safety, you are encouraged to slow down to 60 km/h in construction zones. Remember safety, and be aware that speeding fines triple in construction zones.

Enjoy the start of the summer season, be careful, stay safe and make some good memories.

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