Since the demise of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company and its network of buses that provided rural-urban connections for many residents, accessing public transport has been a key concern for communities and First Nations province-wide.  

Now rural communities may soon have an opportunity to establish or expand their public transit offerings thanks to a $6.1 million investment by the Federal Government. Area communities, including Humboldt, will be among the first to take advantage of the funding. 

The Federal budget allows for the creation of 11 projects to support residents traversing the province more easily, according to Transport Minister Sean Fraser.  

The Muskowekwan First Nation will purchase a 45-passenger passenger bus and two smaller vehicles, including one which will be wheelchair accessible. They will also build a new garage to house them. 

"Muskowekwan First Nation sincerely appreciates the Government of Canada for improving the residents' quality of life, Morris Interactive for their professional input, and those who had a vision and made it a reality," said Muskowekwan Chief Jamie Wolfe alongside the First Nation Council. 

Montreal Lake Cree Nation will also be participating in one of the 11 projects with the support for the project provided by Morris Interactive consulting firm.  

In the case of Muskowekwan First Nation, there was a definite need for transportation from their community, said Michael Pirot with Morris Interactive who worked with the Council to identify and meet those needs.  

“We fleshed out all the types of needs they would have, and they went back to their members,” Pirot explained. “It was a need for them to have access to education, employment, and health care.” 

Those needs would be met by a 45-passenger bus for larger demands, along with 2 transit buses seating 12 to 15 people, one of which will be outfitted for wheelchair access. 

“On behalf of Muskowekwan First Nation and Montreal Lake Cree Nation, Morris Interactive consulting firm would like to extend our appreciation to Infrastructure Canada for providing this vital funding to our First Nation partners,” Pirot added. “I recognized the immense need that the Rural Transit Solution Fund would answer at the community level.    

“Public transit should be available to everyone, no matter where they live. We are committed to, and will continue, supporting such projects in Saskatchewan and across the country that ensure everyone has equal access to services and opportunities," said Fraser.  

In addition to Humboldt, the communities of Gravelbourg and Kamsack will also benefit from investments in public transit systems.