“The government of Saskatchewan is committed to making sure that there’s a CT scanner in Moosomin”

Bonk tells Chamber

April 1, 2024, 8:20 am
Ryan Kiedrowski Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Moosomin MLA Steven Bonk spoke about the budget, the CT scanner, and Highway 8 repairs at the Moosomin Chamber meeting on Tuesday.

At the Moosomin Chamber of Commerce meeting Tuesday, Moosomin MLA Steven Bonk reiterated the provincial government’s support for a CT scanner in Moosomin.
“This is something that this community has championed, has raised money for, has done a lot of work identifying the need, and our government has committed to supporting a CT scanner here in Moosomin,” Bonk said. “That means SHA (Saskatchewan Health Authority) will commit to buying a minimum amount of scans here in Moosomin.”

Once a framework is established, Bonk noted decisions on where to allocate equipment can take place.

“The SHA at the moment would prefer that we have a framework in place where they can work with the communities to decide which pieces of equipment are needed in that particular location,” he said.

Bonk gave the example of if both the communities of Moosomin and Esterhazy advocated for a CT scanner, having the same equipment located in two centres relatively close together would negate the need. Each centre would be better off to list separate machines for their health centres, such as one devoted to a CT scanner and the other an MRI machine.

“This is why this framework is so important,” explained Bonk. “But the first two communities that are going to have this system are Moosomin and Estevan.”

He further commented that in Moosomin, there are many players at work toward the common goal, including the Health Foundation, the Town, the Chamber, Moosomin Community Builders Alliance, the SHA and “all the collective bargaining agreements that come with the Ministry of Health.”

“There’s a lot of moving pieces,” admitted Bonk. “But I’m confident that we’ll get somewhere very soon. I know the ministers are very dedicated to making this work because this is a model that we want to roll out, if successful, across the province.”

He was quick to acknowledge the Town of Moosomin for their efforts on pushing the project.

“Without that kind of determination and tenacity, these things just don’t happen because you cannot let your foot off the gas for a minute,” he said. “I know Bill McPherson (chair of the Moosomin and District Health Care Foundation) always says ‘we’re ready to fight.’ Now we need to work together, because we’re almost there. I want you to know that the government of Saskatchewan is committed to making sure that there’s a CT scan in Moosomin, we just don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like as far as the business model.”

There was a general commitment noted in the recent provincial budget, setting aside $5.1 million for increased capacity of specialize CT and MRI medical imaging services.

After Bonk spoke about the CT scanner, Chamber member Kristjan Hebert commented that getting this project done correctly is key to the future of healthcare in Moosomin.

“If we get this pilot done right, it puts our health care in our hands in Moosomin. So if we get the CT done right, get a pilot project—no different than the airport was a pilot project where it was funded by groups—then in the future as we need a hospital addition or if we want to move to an MRI or whatever that next step is, we’ve actually kind of paved our own way on how that can happen,” said Hebert.

“So in the interim, if you have any questions and ideas, let’s funnel them to that group, because as the business plan gets built, the more ideas and questions we have to move forward.”

Fixes coming to Hwy. 8

Bonk also announced a plan for Highway 8 between Moosomin and Rocanville, the state of which has gone downhill fast.

“I think everyone was a little bit surprised how quickly it deteriorated,” he said. “I know it was not great, I drove on it several times in December and it was nothing like it was in January. It really deteriorated quickly.”

He noted being in meetings with both the Ministry of Highways and the Reeves of the RM of Moosomin and RM of Rocanville, calling them “very productive.”
“The economic driver that highway provides between Moosomin and Rocanville and the mine and all the businesses along the corridor—it is an important road,” Bonk acknowledged.

Ultimately, the plan is for a temporary patch job before entering the line of highways to be rebuilt.

“It will be patched and then next year, it’s in the queue for rebuilding,” confirmed Bonk, adding “Apparently, when it was built, it wasn’t really built that well.”

He pointed to the upcoming work on the road to the mine happening this year, which will see a lot of product being removed from the corner of the 308. Continued patching on damaged sections of Highway 8 and the beginning engineering work this year will occur while the mine road work is completed. Once that project is complete, then the highway will be ready for a better build.