If elected, the NDP would get rid of SaskBuilds and take a look at the projects underway that are financed by public-private partnerships (P3s).
SaskBuilds was created by the Saskatchewan Party government “to explore alternative ways of financing these projects – such as through P3s”.
Currently 18 elementary schools, the North Battleford hospital and the Regina Bypass are managed by P3s.
Calling it the “privatization ministry”, Cam Broten maintains this approach doesn’t make sense.
“Is this the most cost-effective way to be spending dollars and we know with these arrangements they cost a lot more?” he said outside the legislature in Regina Tuesday.
“When you’re paying more in maintenance for one year on a brand new building than every other building in the health region put together, something strange is going on, and that’s certainly not a good use of taxpayer dollars.”
Construction is underway on many of the announced P3 projects but Broten wouldn’t necessarily cancel them.
“We will not cancel projects, but we will look at how to do this in the smartest, most cost-effective way possible.”
The NDP claims shutting down SaskBuilds would save $15.1 million per year, for a total savings of $62 million over four years.
Broten maintains the civil servants employed there would move to other departments.
The Saskatchewan Party’s Gord Wyant fired back at the NDP over P3s, particularly in regard to the Regina Bypass.
“That project is delivering value to the taxpayer of over $380 million,” Wyant said. “So for Mr. Broten to suggest we should eliminate SaskBuilds and somehow give up on the significant savings that the taxpayer is realizing through these projects is really quite remarkable.”
Despite claims by the NDP, Wyant maintains the government is diligent in deciding whether a P3 is right for a project or not.
“The bypass in Martensville and Warmen, we put a P3 screen on that project and determined there wasn’t enough value for money for the taxpayer to use a P3 for that project.”