La Ronge’s mayor believes a paving project approved by town council earlier this week will do much for the community’s image.

Council has approved a $1.5-million project that will see the streets that service the local health centre, rink, town office, library, post office and fire hall finally paved.

Thomas Sierzycki says there are safety and economic development reasons to go ahead with this initiative — but it will also address visitors’ perception of the community.

“As a community, when two major arteries that are housing some very important aspects to your community are not paved, there’s a perception that goes with that.  And, of course, some people may say: ‘Perception isn’t anything’.  But, to me, if you’re welcoming people to come to the community, you’re welcoming them to establish business — and you don’t have a paved road in front of the municipal office, that shows, perhaps, you’re not quite where you want to be.”

Sierzycki says he also knows from his experience as an EMT that people transported to the health centre by ambulance currently have to endure an uncomfortable trip:

“It’s very difficult on the patients.  I personally know, transporting my mom when she was ill — back and forth on that road, the pounding that she took.  So that was always a close issue to my heart.”

Sierzycki adds, among other things, the paved roads will improve the response times and the safety of emergency responders attending to local calls:

“RCMP and the fire department — those are major arteries for them to respond to emergencies.  So, one, we want to do it in a timely fashion, but also in a safe fashion.   So when you have better road conditions, you’re increasing the safety capacity.”

Sierzycki says the streets in question are scheduled to be paved before the end of September.