SASKATOON -- Mayor Charlie Clark said he’s pleased to see the federal government's direct investments into municipalities, helping local economies recover from the ongoing pandemic.

Of the $101.4 billion in new spending announced by federal finance minister Chrystia Freeland, Clark said the investments into Saskatoon-based VIDO-InterVac, affordable housing and infrastructure projects signal support for economic recovery.

“The Community Building Fund which is a doubling of the gas-tax funding that goes to municipalities will be absolutely critical for helping us navigate our way through the pandemic and the financial impacts of the pandemic and reduce the impact on us needing to cut services or raise taxes to deal with these challenges,” Clark said. “This gives us the ability to invest in our infrastructure and keep people working.”

News of the building fund came the same day the mayor and city councillors recommended going ahead with budget planning for a new downtown arena, convention centre and overall vision for an entertainment district.

Clark added Ottawa’s big-ticket budget item on child care will hopefully help parents enter the workforce after caring for newborns. Clark said with Saskatoon’s average monthly child care costs sitting around $800 per month, affordable childcare is needed.

“That can be a huge factor for families to be able to balance being a parent and being out in the workforce. I do see the argument that this could be better for the economy, better for families, better to give a balance to be a part of the workforce and to know that they have good childcare for their kids,” Clark said.