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City floats partnership proposal to province

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Dauphin city council has been vocal about its desire to see a provincial corrections centre remain in the community and it is willing to put its money where its mouth is.
At a recent council meeting, a resolution was passed requesting a meeting with Premier Brian Pallister to discuss options for refurbishing the Dauphin Correctional Centre, in partnership with the City.
The plan, proposed by Mayor Allen Dowhan, would see the city invest as much as $1 million in the project.
The idea stems from the plan which saw the city construct the service road on South Main Street for the province with the promise of reimbursement,
“But we can’t do the revamp completely. So with the promise of not closing the jail - it’s not in the letter, but will still be part of our negotiations if I get that far - we’ll pony up to $1 million,” Dowhan said, adding efforts to have the province reconsider the closure have not been fruitful to this point.
“We’ve been sending letters and people in the Parkland and Dauphin have been doing their fair share of lobbying and nothing is happening.”
The strength of the city’s proposal lies in its financial position which is strong for a community of this size.
With no major debt, save for some small long-term obligations in the Utility Fund, city operations are fiscally sound.
“We have $10 million in reserves and we can we can do this, without affecting any services in our community,” Dowhan said, adding with the province spending what it is on the fight against COVID-19, he expects the government will claim poverty well into the future.
This partnership offers them a way around that, Dowhan said,
“It’s a shot, we’ll see what happens. The City is willing to invest as we invest. The only thing we want is reversal of the shutdown.” he said.
“If they don’t, I feel the city has done everything they can do in trying to reverse this position. But I have to try it and if, by grace of God, or good luck or whatever, they reverse it, I’ll be happy. And if it’s a negative, I feel that I never caused the situation and I can’t fix the situation.”
When he floated the idea, Dowhan said the entire city governance structure was behind it.
“There was no backlash either from administration or from the council,” he said.
“When I made that pitch, there was very few questions on it. The funds are there and it won’t impact on the ratepayers. It’s prudent fiscal management. We’re using it in a situation and at a time when there needs to be our involvement in a crisis situation.”
The proposal is not about winning one against the province, it is about getting done what is best for the community and the region.
“I’ve often said to (the premier) we won’t brag about it. We will just say thanks. I don’t want to muddy the waters or anything like that,” Dowhan said.
“That’s all I’ll do and I think everybody in Dauphin and the Parkland would be very happy with that.”
The key is being able to sit down face-to-face with the premier to discuss the offer, which is yet to happen.
“Now I just gotta make one more connection and we’ll give it a give it one more try,” Dowhan said.