The Green Party of Saskatchewan (GPS) discussed issues that it believes are facing southeast Saskatchewan and other rural regions in the province during a meeting February 8 at the Oxbow Public Library.
GPS Leader Victor Lau said several issues came up during the session. The main issue that was promoted before the meeting was the availability of consistent emergency health care services in southeast Saskatchewan, especially in the Carlyle area.
Some people have had to wait up to two months to see a general practitioner, he said.
"It's a combination of retention and finding doctors of a younger age," said Lau. "Communities are trying to attract them from within Canada or even … abroad, and trying to show them that this can be a quality lifestyle, and they can raise their families here."
Lau noted that one Oxbow-area physician has two children who want to get into the medical profession, but can't get into the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. They had to go to Carleton University in Ontario instead.
He suggested creating a new medical college at the University of Regina to train more physicians.
Those who attended the session broached several other topics:
*Seniors' rental housing in Oxbow now costs $1,200 per month;
*Oxbow area residents are disappointed by the lack of cellular service from SaskTel;
*Housing has become expensive in Oxbow. Workers are travelling from Regina to Oxbow every day to build a new tire shop;
*Oxbow is growing quickly, and the town has to expand and maintain infrastructure;
*Keeping local businesses in Oxbow is a growing concern, despite the growing population,
*Shipping oil locally by rail;
*The large amount of red tape involved with constructing buildings in RMs; and
*A fund in which the provincial government will bank revenues from the resource sector during strong economic times.
"The neat thing was they weren't trying to complain as much as they were trying to put certain things out there," said Lau. "They didn't seem panicked. I think they knew that the economy is going well, and they liked the prosperity."
They also voiced their support for twinning Highways 39 and 6 from North Portal to Regina.
As the meeting went along, Lau said more issues were brought up. He was hoping that more people would attend than the one couple that was present, but there was still good discussion.