What makes the difference with growth in rural communities?
February 4, 2021, 1:51 pm
As we delved into Saskatchewan Health covered population numbers for local communities last week, it became clear that this area of the province is very different than most areas of rural Saskatchewan.
Some areas have seen the population slowly sinking along with the oil price over the last few years.
Some areas that rely purely on agriculture have seen population slowly shrink and age as farms grow larger and the number of people needed to run them decreases.
But the stats show the Moosomin area growing consistently over the last decade.
All of the larger communities in the area saw some growth, and the total population across the area has grown.
There are probably a lot of factors that explain the growth in this area:
• There is a diverse economic base, with potash, oil, pipelines, agriculture, and manufacturing in the region, and larger centres in the region serve as retail and service hubs for a large area.
• Ours are community-minded communities. People in the area strongly support their communities. Whether it’s businesses donating to local causes, businesses and groups supporting recreation, people volunteering in the community, people consciously deciding to support local, there is just a sense in our local communities that we are all here for each other.
• We have many business owners and managers with a vision for the future. It has only been 12 years since the Trans-Canada Highway was twinned by Moosomin. When the highway opened, there was one business facing the new highway. The Red Barn had built a new location due to the new highway, and owner Dan Davidson had the vision and courage to be there as soon as the highway opened. Since then, many businesses have been built along the highway by others with vision—Celebration Ford, which has also developed the entire Eastgate Business Park with lots of commercial space, Tim Horton’s, Borderland Co-op, Canalta Hotels, Motel 6, Best Western, A&W, Mazergroup, and Flaman Group of Companies. Turn north off the Trans-Canada onto Highway 8 and you see the relatively new Moosomin Dodge and the new IJACK Technologies assembly plant. None of those businesses were there a dozen years ago when the new Trans-Canada lanes opened.
• We have people in our communities who are willing and able to invest in the future of their communities. When the Southeast Integrated Care Centre in Moosomin was just a proposal, people dug in and fundraised to make the new facility a reality. The same is true in Kipling and Redvers, and in Esterhazy the community has worked hard to raise money for a new health care facility that should be coming soon. When Bridgeview Developers came to the area and offered people a chance to buy in to develop seniors housing in their communities, many communities successfully built new facilities to provide the housing their seniors need.
• We have people actively working on economic development. I am honored to sit on the local economic development committee along with a whole group of people who are always coming up with ideas and working hard to get that next project that will add to our community and make people’s lives better. The latest of these projects is a long-term care and assisted living facility proposed for Moosomin that would mean people would no longer have to leave the community they love because of a lack of care options.
Every community in our area has people working hard for the future of their communities. I had a call this week from a developer who has created projects in many southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba communities. He had advertised in our last Plain and Valley development issue and had some interest from some communities. This week he had a local mayor call him about a need he thought the developer could meet in his community. When communities pay attention to economic development and go out and get what they need to make their communities grow, they will continue to grow.
• And lastly, the right attitude! People in our area love their communities, love the Prairie lifestyle, love the lakes and valleys, the hills and the towns, and want to do everything they can to make their communities better, and to help them grow!