$143 million luxury reno plan completely inappropriate, says NDP

Opposition says government’s culture of entitlement a growing concern

The NDP says the premier and his SaskPower minister have a lot of explaining to do after documents revealed Wednesday that a $143 million proposed refurbishment of the Crown corporation’s head office includes a rooftop patio with heaters, living walls, executive area upgrades and something referred to as a “penthouse.”

“The sense of entitlement of this government, and the culture of entitlement among their friends and insiders is a growing concern,” said NDP Central Services critic Warren McCall. “Of course the government and their board appointees at SaskPower should abandon this luxury renovation plan.

“The fact that a consulting firm was hired and paid to provide an estimate on the cost of a rooftop patio with heaters, a living wall and a penthouse is a shocking misuse of public dollars and ratepayer dollars. For the government and its appointees to think this kind of lavish spending is appropriate and fair to ratepayers is shocking – especially at a time when the government is raising SaskPower rates for Saskatchewan families.”

The estimate was revealed through freedom of information laws. Among the upgrades, it includes:

  • Construction of a rooftop patio;
  • Heaters for the rooftop patio;
  • A “penthouse” costing $173,250;
  • Stone floors for the rooftop deck;
  • Executive area upgrades adding $60,750 to the price; and
  • Several living walls, a term which typically refers to designer ivy or plant-covered interior walls.

The luxury refurbishment plans are a case of adding insult to injury, said McCall, since the government announced Wednesday a 8.5 per cent power rate hike.

“The hard-working Saskatchewan families responsible for today’s economy are being forced to make tough choices, but that certainly doesn’t seem to apply to the government,” said McCall. “From cabinet ministers charging taxpayers for vacations and chauffeurs overseas to a new downtown penthouse, this premier needs to get the sense of entitlement he’s created in check.”

The NDP said it does support reasonable or necessary maintenance and modernization of Crown buildings to ensure they last for the long-term.

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