News Release - February 26, 2007
CULTURE, YOUTH AND RECREATION MINISTER CALLS FOR FEDERAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM
Culture, Youth and Recreation Minister Glenn Hagel and Provincial-Territorial Ministers for Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation are calling for an infrastructure program in the next federal budget. The ministers made the call while meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon, prior to the 2007 Jeux du Canada Winter Games February 23 to March 10.
“With our growing obesity epidemic and rising costs to our health care system, it is increasingly more important that our citizens enjoy active lifestyles that support better health,” Hagel said. “We need to ensure that communities have facilities to support physical activity. It is our goal to make life better for Saskatchewan citizens and to build a better future for our youth.”
The last significant federal investment in sport and recreation infrastructure took place in the late sixties. In Saskatchewan, efforts to enhance physical activity levels are being hampered by a lack of adequate access to facilities. The culture and recreation infrastructure deficit in Saskatchewan is estimated to be in excess of $750 million. In December, the province announced the Building Communities Program, which is contributing $100 million over three years to help communities meet some of these needs.
“While this amount is substantial, the solution to the infrastructure deficit is so significant that it requires a collaborative effort by all levels of government and the private sector,” Hagel said. “We are asking the federal government to join Saskatchewan in developing a long-term infrastructure program. Together, we can ensure that our citizens and our communities can continue to benefit from participating in sport and recreation opportunities.”
Provincial-Territorial Ministers called for dedicated funding in the next federal budget in order to significantly reduce the infrastructure deficit in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2017. The new program should focus exclusively on sport, recreation and physical activity infrastructure to address the growing incidence of physical inactivity and obesity among Canadians.
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