The agency in charge of Saskatoon’s riverfront trails says it’s having a hard time reaching its goals.
The Meewasin Valley Authority (MVA) has been in charge of the trails along the South Saskatchewan since being founded in the late 1970’s. It is a joint venture between the City of Saskatoon, the Government of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan. All three partners contribute to the agency’s budget.
Doug Porteous, the MVA’s community development manager, presented the authority’s annual report to Monday’s meeting of the City of Saskatoon executive committee.
He concluded his presentation with a call for more funding from the partners in the authority. While he acknowledged that the city has added significant dollars toward trail maintenance, he said overall funding increases for the agency haven’t kept pace with inflation for years.
Porteous pointed out that the MVA relies on statutory funding from the three partners for about 16 per cent of its budget. In 2015, the agency had about $4.5 million to work with.
However, he said that money is critical for the authority to secure matching grants from other agencies. He said that as the money has dwindled over time, it’s began to have an effect on their ability to bring in that money.
The MVA report states that the agency has been losing one or two per cent of its purchasing power every year. A table included in the report shows the funding, adjusted for inflation, remaining stagnant for over a decade.
The committee voted unanimously to send the report on to city council. The City of Saskatoon begins its budget deliberations in December.