By Sarah Jean Maher
Canadian Design and Construction Report special feature
Below is a list of Saskatchewan’s Top 10 economic development community industry leaders. While many of these communities share similar economic drivers, they each bring a unique milestone to the economic landscape and all have bright visions for the future. The listing is in no particular ranking order.
Battleford is combining infrastructure improvements with initiatives to respect and recognize its history as it sets economic development plans rooted in storytelling and preservation.
There are plans for a new museum at the historic Land Registry Title Office, downtown revitalization, and infrastructure improvements to facilitate growth and opportunities in conjunction with the nearby First Nations community.
The Town of Biggar has recently expanded its highway commercial corridor, increasing access to services like water, power, and energy. The town is currently working on improving its water infrastructure. The community is growing at a rapid rate with demand for tradespeople, housing development, and retail development. Biggar’s access to multiple transport options makes it a great place for businesses to flourish.
The City of Estevan boasts a diverse economy featuring a range of different services including agriculture, oil and gas, power generation, and mining. In fact, its Southeast College offers specialized education for those interested in entering the energy industry.
Its convenient location on the main import/export line provides key access to many different markets, as does its close proximity to Saskatchewan’s main highway. The city has recently developed new subdivisions both in the city and in its surrounding rural areas, and is home to SaskPower’s $1.4 Billion Clean Coal Carbon Capture Enhanced Oil Recovery Project. Its ever-growing recreational facilities and education programs makes it an ideal family-friendly environment.
The City of Humboldt’s economic vision is entrepreneur-focused with a vision for increased collaboration efforts. The city has its eyes set on continuing to welcome entrepreneurs and work with them to help their small business and start-ups thrive – something that isn’t always easy in a rural community.
The Humboldt Chamber of Commerce provides a business and community-centric voice for the city and its surrounding area. Its membership, which continues to grow, is made up of individuals from a range of different services and industries, and its activities are carried out with the help of volunteers. The chamber has arranged for speakers, seminars, hosted events, and many other activities for the community over the years.
Known as the “Heavy Oil Capital of the World”, the City of Lloydminster’s prominent economic footprint is in large part due its heavy oil production over the last 20 years. The Husky Energy heavy oil refinery is located within the city, and most of its assets are located in the area.
The petroleum and agricultural industries have helped pushed Lloydminster into the economic powerhouse it is today. Its location between Edmonton and Saskatoon on the TransCanada Yellowhead Highway and accessible airline and railway access makes it a very well-connected spot.
The agriculture industry – mainly wheat, barley, and canola – also makes Lloydminster a hot spot; the city is home to the country’s largest bio-diesel plant and one of its largest canola crushing facilities.
Moose Jaw prides itself in having grown exponentially in a number of vital categories over the past several years: job creation, population, and building permits; just to name a few. Potash and agriculture continues to drive the economy and, notably, companies like AgroCorp and CAE have played a large role in the industry’s stability. In fact, Moose Jaw relies heavily on the agricultural sector, rather than on oil and gas like many other cities in the province. As for industrial investment, the local economy is expected to continue to soar with the Canadian Protein Innovation providing even more economic potential.
Located right in the middle of Saskatchewan, the City of Prince Albert is undertaking a number of economic initiatives to encourage new business, including plans for two businesses moving into the city from outside the province. There are also plans for local contractors and businesses to work together to provide more incentives for existing businesses within the city.
The city’s approach to economic development within the region is represented by the Prince Albert Regional Economic Development Alliances (PREDA), formed in partnership with the Rural Municipality of Prince Albert, the Rural Municipality of Buckland, the Town of Shellbrook, Muskoday First Nation, and Peter Ballantyne Developments.
Regina’s thriving economy is driven by multiple sectors, including manufacturing, metal fabrication, agriculture, tourism, recreation, finance, and oil and gas. The province’s capital city prides itself on being a leader in manufacturing innovation, and is also home to Western Canada’s largest steel producer; producing three million tonnes of steel annually. Producers and markets in the agricultural market are easily accessible, paving the way for its leadership in this sector.
With regards to its strong financial sector, Regina houses a number of major financial institutions, including Public Employees Benefits Agency (PEBA), Greystone Managed Investments (GMI) and Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI).
Regina’s downtown core is now home to a wide range of different businesses, having recently experienced a boom in restaurants. Regina has also become a vibrant hub for events thanks to its popular Evraz Place – the largest interconnected event complex in Canada, which sees 3.5 million visitors annually. It is home to many parks arts centres and museums.
Agriculture, oil and gas, manufacturing, and tourism are all large contributors to the City of Swift Current’s lively economy. According to the city’s most recent strategic plan, it expects its population to increase to 25,000 by 2025 from its current from 17,500. An increase in immigrants and new families has also stimulated their economy, with a boom in housing units, apartments, and condominiums recently built to meet these needs.
The construction, manufacturing, and gas industries are seeing a lot of investment potential, bringing many opportunities for new service companies to capitalize on this potential. Agriculture also continues to thrive, with its booming cattle prices and strong relationships to agricultural companies in southwest Saskatchewan. Its proximity to the TransCanada Highway also continues to boost the city’s hospitality industry. Oil and gas companies have their eyes set on drilling programs in the near future, with potential to bring even more business to the city.
The City of Warman’s “open for business” perspective is demonstrated by its dedication to welcoming and assisting all types of businesses, both new and growing. The city supports business development and emphasizes local employment opportunities for its residents and existing businesses.