The Estevan Chamber of Commerce is calling for the provincial government to step up and co-ordinate with the community to aid in transitioning Estevan and area during the exit from conventional coal power electricity generation.
During the May coffee talk gathering, there was a strong united voice from the approximately 40 member attendees that Estevan needs provincial representation and support regarding the transition from coal-fired power generation.
The consensus of the meeting attendees was that the Estevan Chamber of Commerce should draft letters to various ministers for concerned Estevan residents to sign and mail to their respective offices.
“It is clearly time that the community comes together to let the Saskatchewan Government know that complacency is no longer acceptable and we need provincial leadership to partner with our community to aid in co-ordinating a plan to transition our community,” said chamber executive director Jackie Wall.
To date, the City of Estevan has co-ordinated a coal transition committee that is working in conjunction with the economic development committee to diversify the economy and develop a plan to transition from coal. The chamber represents its members' voices in each of these committees.
Federally, the final report from the Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities has been released, as well as various announcements of federal funding to transition communities such as Estevan. There has also been support and co-operation from SaskPower as they consistently attend local coal transition meetings and keep the office informed of updates.
The chamber says the provincial government has repeatedly stated that this transition from coal and the transitioning of communities is solely a federal responsibility and they have no plan to aid in transitioning Saskatchewan communities.
“The feedback that the Estevan Chamber of Commerce is receiving is that our membership disagrees. Our board and staff have summarized the member concerns in letters that will go out from the chamber as well as letters that area residents can download, edit, sign and mail to the various offices,” said Wall.
Included are letters to Premier Scott Moe; Estevan MLA Lori Carr, who is also the minister of Highways and Infrastructure; Bronwyn Eyre, the minister of Energy and Resources; Donna Harpauer, the minister of Finance; and Dustin Duncan, the minister of Environment and minister Responsible for SaskPower.