Ditch Mowing Budget

Res #: 31-12A
Number: 31
Year: 2012
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No

WHEREAS there were more than 12,772 wildlife collisions in 2009; and

WHEREAS these collisions accounted for over $45.6 million of insurance claims in 2009; and

WHEREAS injuries occurred to 343 people with six fatalities; and

WHEREAS most of the collisions occurred after dark and/or when the wildlife is not clearly visible; and

WHEREAS the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure typically spends on average approximately 2 million per year provincially on the mowing of highway right-of-ways; and

WHEREAS these vehicle/wildlife collisions directly impact not only the general public, but also government and non-government agencies;

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure to increase the budget for mowing ditches adjacent to provincial highways; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SARM lobby industry partners such as Saskatchewan Government Insurance, Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, and others, to contribute financially to the Ministry’s annual mowing program to help offset these extra costs.

Response from Honourable Jim Reiter, Minister of Highways and Infrastructure:

This resolution addresses the need for an increase in the Ministry’s ditch mowing program as well as requesting other industry partners such as Saskatchewan Government Insurance and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation to contribute financially to the ditch mowing program.

In 2011, the Ministry’s mowing budget was $1.6 million for approximately 36,300 hectares. In 2012, the Ministry awarded 24 contracts for approximately 36,300 hectares of mowing to the private industry at a cost of $2.04 million.

Also in 2011, the Ministry entered into agreements with 14 rural municipalities to complete the ditch mowing within the highway right-of-ways. These rural municipalities completed 1,525 hectares of mowing as part of the agreements.  The Ministry’s practice is to contract with the rural municipality providing that the costs are in line with private sector bidding and the mowing is performed to meet the Ministry’s standards.

The Ministry is challenged by balancing the level of effort placed on mowing against other equally or more important work activities associated with managing a relatively large transportation network.

The Ministry appreciates SARM’s offer to assist the Ministry with mowing. If RM’s are wishing to pursue mowing agreements with the Ministry, they can contact the respective Regional District Operations Director.