Bonk says ‘the sky’s the limit’ for development
February 21, 2023, 11:58 am
World-Spectator Editor Kevin Weedmark spoke with Moosomin MLA Steven Bonk about the Moosomin Airport Expansion following the announcement of a major donation of $2.7 million from Nutrien for the project, and an additional $1.3 million from the province on top of its earlier commitment. The full interview follows:
So tell me first of all from your standpoint how important is this airport project to the Moosomin region?
Oh I think it’s extremely important, particularly when you look at the air ambulance aspect of it and the geographical location of Moosomin and this area.
Not only does it provide access to health care when people really need it but also the economic side of things.
You really can’t downplay that because having this airport here will bring so much more money and economic activity into the area.
What made the difference for Moosomin in moving this project forward? It seems to have taken a big leap forward in the last year or so with Nutrien coming on board and the province topping up its commitment. What made the difference here?
It might look like it took a big leap in the last year but as you know, this is something that a lot of people have been working on for quite some time.
I think one of the main factors is that the approach that was taken was a partnership between the local community, Nutrien, and the Government of Saskatchewan.
All stakeholders worked together to make sure that this happened and like most things, you don’t see the work going on behind the scenes but I know firsthand that there’s a lot of people that have been working on this for a long time.
How important is it for a project like this for a major corporate contributor like Nutrien to come forward?
Oh I think it builds nothing but trust and goodwill in the community as well as it benefits them in their business.
I think that this is just a win-win-win situation for Moosomin and the region.
How important do you think this project is to the future of this region?
I think that this is a project that will show its true benefit in a few years from now.
Right now we don’t know the complete impact but we know it’s going to be positive. There’s been a lot of feasibility studies and economic modeling done but like I said, we won’t know the true impact until a few years from now.
What do you think is more important for this airport, the health care side or the economic side?
Well the value of every life saved can’t be measured. That’s one thing and to that I’d like to give a special thank you to Dr. Van and to Jeff St. Onge because when I first met with them in the legislature, it must be three or four years ago now, they were just as passionate then as they are now about this project.
So I’d like to give a special thank you to them for helping to push this project along.
The economic side is also important but nothing can, of course, compare to the value of a human life.
Moosomin has a lot on its plate right now, a group is working with the government on a proposal for a recovery centre and the health care foundation has raised $70,000 for a CT scanner without officially starting fundraising, and there are several other projects on the drawing boards. How important is this project as a building block to some of those projects down the road?
That’s what I was just going to say, this project in itself is a piece of the puzzle.
So I really have to commend Moosomin and I think that Moosomin is on the forefront of what’s happening in Saskatchewan as far as regional co-operation between the business community, the different levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal, and also bringing in our large corporate entities.
So I think that what’s happening in Moosomin has the attention of the rest of the province and a lot of people are looking very closely at it.
With the leadership you have here and with the good people that are working towards these things happening—I think the sky is the limit.