Agribusiness Land Access Resolution

Year: 2014

Number: 22-14A

Department: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

WHEREAS the Government of Saskatchewan is promoting "Growing Forward" as the theme for this provinces trend into the future; and

WHEREAS the province of Saskatchewan plays a key role in feeding the world as a result of our agricultural lands and practices; and

WHEREAS the Ministry of Agriculture Crop Reports consistently articulate that field access due to flooding is a significant and contributing factor to late seeded or unseeded acres; and

WHEREAS Federal and Provincial Governments collaborate to provide disaster assistance funding for municipal governments under the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP); and

WHEREAS the 2013 PDAP General Claim Guidelines only recognize farm access roads as an eligible item for an Agricultural Operation and not municipal governments; and

WHEREAS rural municipalities (RM) have been working diligently to ensure that "designated roads" are accessible for their ratepayers in an effort to support their activities, public safety, access to work, schools, home care, policing, fire suppression, etc.; and

WHEREAS ensuring land access becomes a financial burden that overwhelms an RMs ability to address the situation; and

WHEREAS progressive farming practices involve larger, wider and heavier farm equipment;

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Federal and Provincial Governments to recognize the serious impacts of this infrastructure deficit on agribusiness within the province; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SARM ensure that the Ministries of Agriculture and Government Relations work in concert to identify the concerns of land access and address these concerns by changing the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program Guidelines to accept claims related to land access from municipal governments providing the funding under the program to repair these roads as they would any other business access; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SARM ensure that the Ministries of Agriculture and Government Relations look at the issues related to the demands on rural municipal (RM) infrastructure and the demands of the agricultural industry ultimately developing a grant program for RM's for monies for upgrading land access.

MINISTRY OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS' RESPONSE

Under current PDAP Regulations and guidelines, farm access roads that are owned and maintained by the RM are eligible for assistance under PDAP.  If the road is an access to a private residence, it is the rate payer's responsibility for the repairs and general maintenance for their farm access road.  If the repairs are completed by the RM, the invoice from the RM to the rate payer will be reviewed for eligibility by PDAP based on the estimated amount listed on the adjuster's report.

PDAP understands that farming practices are now involving larger, wider and heavier farm equipment.  PDAP provides assistance for repairs to roads to pre­ disaster condition only; however, if municipal road codes/standards were updated/ upgraded to include the heavier equipment that are impacting roads and those changes were in place at the time of disaster, then PDAP would provide assistance for repairs up to the existing code, providing that road was directly damaged from the disaster.

The federal and provincial governments do collaborate under the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements; these arrangements are to assist provinces with the costs of dealing with a disaster where those costs would otherwise place a significant burden on the provincial economy.

For 2014-15, Municipal Revenue Sharing is $256.979M, which represents an increase of 102 percent from the 2007-08 levels.  Given this rate of increase in revenue sharing, it is government's expectation that municipalities will have more funding for infrastructure costs, such as road repairs.  Roads are a large component of the current rural revenue sharing formula, with 70 percent of funding determined by a transportation calculation.

RESPONSE FROM HONORABLE LYLE STEWART, MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE

Under current Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP) regulations and guidelines, farm access roads that are owned and maintained by the RM are eligible for assistance under PDAP.  If the road is an access to a private residence, it is the rate payer's responsibility for the repairs and general maintenance for their farm access road.  If the repairs are completed by the RM, the invoice from the RM to the rate payer will be reviewed for eligibility by PDAP based on the estimated amount listed on the adjuster's report.

PDAP understands that farming practices are now involving larger, wider and heavier farm equipment.  PDAP provides assistance for repairs to roads to pre-disaster condition only; however, if municipal road codes/standards were updated/ upgraded to include the heavier equipment that are impacting roads and those changes were in place at the time of disaster, then PDAP would provide assistance for repairs up to the existing code, providing that road was directly damaged from the disaster.

The federal and provincial governments collaborate under the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements; these arrangements are to assist provinces with the costs of dealing with a disaster where those costs would otherwise place a significant burden on the provincial economy.  For 2014-15, Municipal Revenue Sharing is $256.979M, which represents an increase of 102 percent from the 2007-08 levels.

Given this rate of increase in revenue sharing, it is the government's expectation that municipalities will have more funding for infrastructure costs, such as road repairs.  Roads are a large component of the current rural revenue sharing formula, with 70 percent of funding determined by a transportation calculation.

 

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