After being held virtually for the past two years, the 2022 Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) convention is back in Regina.
Organizers are excited to see some new faces after an election was held virtually over the pandemic.
“There’s some of these board members we haven’t met because we had an election,” said Dawn Luhning, who is the chair of the 2022 convention. “So it’s going to be great to see everybody over these next four days.”
The convention runs until April 6th and some members are getting their first taste of how the convention works.
“It is going be a great experience,” said Dylan Smart, councillor for the town of Langham. “It is actually my first time at the SUMA convention, so I’m really looking forward to networking and just be back talking to people face to face.”
City mayors were in board meetings Sunday morning, planning for the days ahead.
Our city mayors caucus met this morning before #SUMA2022 kicked off. It was a great opportunity to finally get everyone together in the same room to discuss issues common to Saskatchewan’s 16 cities. pic.twitter.com/7cprUZBQiQ
— SUMA (@SUMAConnect) April 3, 2022
Lloydminster mayor Gerald Aalbers said the group will be discussing some major issues.
“Some of the issues that we’re going to be discussing with government and fellow municipality leaders are policing, mental health, addictions, homelessness, and infrastructure money. There’s a lot of items on the agenda,” said Aalbers.
Aalbers adds it is important for municipalities to listen and learn from each other.
“The issues that are started at a local municipal council, in a city, town, village, make its way to the convention floor,” said Aalbers. “People are able to discuss them fully, and understand the issues that are at hand and that’s a great way for the resolution committees to happen.”
SUMA members are set to discuss 24 resolutions, the highest amount ever for a SUMA convention
“It means that people are interested that municipalities have certain messages that they want to send to the provincial government, to the community and SUMA is happy to take those messages for them,” said Bob Hawkins, one of the directors of the board of SUMA.
The Regina city councillor adds that one of the most important topics on the table is drug addictions.
“One that affects all municipalities is the problem of drug addiction and the problem of homelessness, so there’s a resolution on funding, and more funding for homelessness,” said Hawkins.
Other resolutions include funding libraries, disposal of demolition material to protect the landfills and safe drinking water.
SUMA will also be holding an election for a new president on April 5th.
In the running is Kyle Bennet who is the mayor of Shaunavon Sk. Bennet will be running against Yorkton city councillor Randy Goulding.