Growth has been a constant for the last decade in southeast Saskatchewan, with population growth in communities of all sizes and a lot of new businesses, especially in the larger communities such as Moosomin and Esterhazy. Both communities have seen the building of new hotels, restaurants, and many other businesses over the last decade, as billions of dollars of investment in potash, wind energy, pipelines and the agriculture sector has kept the local economy growing. Pictured above are two of the new business buildings opened in Moosomin in 2018, Moosomin Dodge and  Mazergroup

Local population stabilizing after decade of growth

January 7, 2019 8:13 am
Kevin Weedmark

The most recent Saskatchewan Health Covered Population figures indicate that the population in the area appears to be stabilizing after years of growth.

Saskatchewan Health releases covered population figures each year, indicating how many people in each community have Saskatchewan Health coverage.

The figures are not the same as a census. Most Saskatchewan residents have a health card, and those with a health card are reported in the Saskatchewan Health statistics. (People in Canada on certain types of visas and those who have not been in the province for the required time do not have health coverage in Saskatchewan and are not included in the figures.)

The figures are not precise, but can show general trends.

The trend in the region has been of growth for the last several years, and the 2018 figures show that growth levelling off.

The figures show 13,470 people living in towns and villages in this region within Saskatchewan in 2018, an increase of 2,745 from a decade ago, when there were 10,725 reported in the same communities.

Moosomin shows the most growth, with 3,211 people with Saskatchewan Health coverage in 2018, up 715 from the 2,496 figure a decade ago.

The growth reported in the Saskatchewan Health figures matches the growth reported by Statistics Canada in the last census.

The 2016 census shows that the town of Moosomin led the region in population growth between the 2011 and 2016 censuses, with 10.4 per cent population growth. Moosomin had grown by 8.9 per cent between the 2006 and 2011 censuses.

The increase of 10.4 per cent in the five years before the last census is the highest for any community in the region.

The town of Moosomin’s growth rate recorded in the census is higher than surrounding communities like Virden, Esterhazy, Kipling, and Carlyle, and is higher than cities in the region like Yorkton, Weyburn and Estevan.

The figures are as of June 30, 2018, and don’t include the hundreds of temporary residents in Moosomin for construction of the Enbridge Line 3 replacement.

Esterhazy has seen the second highest growth, according to the figures, with 3,175 residents in 2018, up 469 from the 2,706 recorded 10 years ago.

Local towns and villages have 2,745 more residents than a decade ago

Moosomin has seen most growth with 715 more residents than 10 years ago

Esterhazy also has significant growth with 469 more residents in the last 10 years



Moosomin mayor sees more potential for growth

Moosomin Mayor Larry Tomlinson says he believes the community has a lot of potential for further growth.

“We’ve had a lot of new businesses in the last few years, with the hotels on the highway and the Co-op and Celebration and Flaman along the highway.

“We’ve got a couple of brand new businesses with the Dodge dealership and the Ijack plant, and there’s the big new Mazer building with the NAPA store. I think those new businesses will help bring business to town,” he says.

Communities of similar size elsewhere in the province have not seen the same kind of growth over the last decade.

“We have our Filipino community who have come and become part of our community and now are running businesses, which has helped,” says Tomlinson. “They’re hard working people and we’re happy to have them in our community.

“It would be sure nice to get Energy East going, but that’s going to be a tough one. We just have to keep it out there. We have an economic development committee that does a pretty good job and we’ll keep working on it.

“Having the potash mine nearby makes a big difference.”

He said the growth in recent years has brought some challenges with it, as new streets were developed near the Trans-Canada Highway to accommodate new businesses, and the growth is putting pressure on the town’s water and sewer infrastructure.

“There have been some challenges with infrastructure, and we have to do some work on our older infrastructure as well,” said Tomlinson.

He said he believes the town has a bright future.

“I think we can attract more people to town, but we have to stay on top of it with the economic development committee, but I think we have room to grow. Being right on the TransCanada highway, with the potash nearby, with the pipelines, it really seems unlimited the businesses you could have here.”

Esterhazy mayor sees unprecedented growth

Esterhazy Mayor Grant Forster says he has seen unprecedented growth in the last few years, and sees the potential for more growth in the community.

“We’ve seen a lot of growth, and most of it coincided with the K3 expansion,” he said.

“That brought a lot more people to the area. We have had two or three new restaurants open up, we’ve got a couple of new hotels, those things have changed the face of the community.

“You come into town from the east and where there used to be open field is now almost full of new businesses. We have a new industrial section in that area, and a whole bunch of new residential sections. It’s unprecedented growth. I’ve been in Esterhazy since 1968. I don’t recall seeing this kind of growth in the past. It’s amazing. It’s what we want.”

He says future growth depends to some extent on how K3 develops.

“A lot of that will depend on how things pan out with K3. We’ve been in discussions with Mosaic, and they’ve laid out their plans. They told us they don’t expect to see any increase in the workforce—in fact it’s expected to decrease because of the efficiencies K3 will bring in. We’re expecting that we can at least maintain where we are now, or there may be a slight drop, but we’re a young town. Fifteen years ago, we were looking at potentially having one K-12 school because we didn’t have the young people, but now we have the young families, we have the young people. Those numbers are going up.”

He said the town is continually working on bringing in new businesses to facilitate growth.

“Our economic development committee is always looking at ways to bring in new businesses to help support what we have in town and to provide more opportunities. We occasionally speak with Mosaic and ask if there’s anything we can do to bring businesses to town that will help them.

“We do a lot of work with our medical community to ensure they are well taken care of. We are pushing to get a new health centre. We have raised the money, we’re just waiting for the province to say go ahead and start hammering nails. That’s something we take seriously as a council. We have committed a lot of money to that. We’re hoping it eventually will become a reality, and having a strong medical community will help attract people to town.”

The cost of the new health facility is estimated at $35 million to $40 million and the town has raised its portion of the cost.

Forster sees a bright future for Esterhazy.

“Ten years down the road I can see things being different, and the town getting a complete overhaul in terms of facilities that we own. Our rink is aging, so it’s something that is going to have to change. If we can keep things like that updated and have lots of things for people to do, as long as Mosaic is here, keeping people employed, Esterhazy has a good future. They have been a fantastic employer and I’m sure that will continue.”

Sask population growing

Saskatchewan’s population continued to grow in the third quarter of 2018.

According to the latest population estimates released December 20 by Statistics Canada, Saskatchewan grew by 3,841 to 1,165,903 people as of October 1, 2018.

This represents the 50th consecutive quarter of population growth—the longest sustained period of population growth in Saskatchewan since quarterly records started being kept in 1971.

“Despite the challenges facing our energy sector, people still see Saskatchewan as a great place to live, and they’re right,” Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison said.

“Our government will continue working hard to stand up for Saskatchewan and ensure it’s a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

Saskatchewan’s population growth in the most recent quarter was driven by net international migration of 5,261 and a natural increase (births minus deaths) of 1,762, partially offset by net interprovincial migration of 3,182.