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joelpiecowye Apr 26, 2008 7:08 PM

Other Manitoba and Saskatchewan Developments
i didn't know where to put this so i decided to make a new thread on this, besides i think we need a thread for prince albert, moosejaw, swift current, the battlefords etc.

BTC plans heritage theme park
Cassandra Kyle, The StarPhoenix
Published: Saturday, April 26, 2008
THE BATTLEFORDS -- Russ Brown's desk is busy with papers, reports and memos detailing the Battleford Tribal Council's efforts to support community development and the region's economy.

He pulls a recent report from a shelf behind his computer and opens it to illustrate the types of business the BTC is involved with in the province. There's Dwight's Trenching, Jackfish Lodge, MGM Communications and Avord Tower in downtown Saskatoon and several more examples of companies that employ more than 600 aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in the province.

Business developments with the BTC, which today represents just the Little Pine, Poundmaker, Lucky Man and Mosquito First Nations, change and grow on a regular basis, Brown said. But there's a project on the horizon that has the potential to draw fresh attention to the BTC and The Battlefords.

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Font:****"If this is completed as initially designed, I suspect that this will be a landmark that will become instantly recognizable throughout North America and beyond," he said of council plans to build a First Nations heritage theme park on BTC land in North Battleford's southeast quadrant.

"We intend to make it go ahead."

Planning for the park, which would stretch from North Battleford to Finlayson Island in the river and over again to land on the Battleford side, is still in its early stages, but initial concepts have been drawn up by a Saskatchewan architectural firm. The project includes a medicine wheel, powwow grounds, amphitheatre, lodges, teepee village and a bridge in the shape of a bow and arrow that crosses Highway 16.

Brown said although the park is a First Nations-initiated project, the BTC will work with the community to turn the project into a reality.

"We intend to work in consultation and co-operation with the city and the town so this is part of the bigger development," he said.

"We don't see the First Nations as being islands unto themselves," Brown said about the council's role in the greater community. "The opportunities are in developing strategic partnerships, strategic business relationships with the government, with private industry, with the communities that we share."

With the First Nations population in the area increasingly becoming a major part of the labour force in the area and BTC companies expanding their holdings, Brown believes there's good things ahead for the council.

"The (park) is part of the reason for optimism looking forward to some of the things we want to do in this community

did anyone hear about this yet? if you did could u decribe some info on it.

joelpiecowye Apr 26, 2008 7:14 PM

Battlefords becomes centre of traffic
Cassandra Kyle, The StarPhoenix
Published: Friday, April 25, 2008
THE BATTLEFORDS -- There's something to be said for the transportation infrastructure in and around The Battlefords, according to area business developers.

The highways, railroad and river that head straight through the middle of the two municipalities play a major role in the economic development of the community. The infrastructure provides a route to ship the area's oil and gas, grains and livestock in any direction needed. Highways 4 and 16, along with the rail network, are used to send out items manufactured in the area, from large-scale tanks to handmade jewelry.

What heads out from The Battlefords is important, but some say it's what the roads bring in that makes the region more than a pit-stop on the drive to larger centres.

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Font:****"There has been some significant business development because people are building new houses. Some people are moving here; they're coming here for opportunities; they're coming here for careers," said Ryan Bater, general manager of the Battlefords Regional Economic Development Authority "A lot of that has been related to the energy sector."

Energy -- not just oil and gas, but biofuel development and the creation of businesses that serve the industry -- is a big deal for the area, said Bater.

"Our interest isn't in getting Husky to set up their office here -- Calgary is the headquarters, Texas is the headquarters -- but the wealth generated from servicing that (industry) is absolutely critical to communities like The Battlefords. The businesses that do those types of activities are usually owned locally. They employ local people; they generate wealth locally."

Historical, natural attractions

That local wealth has led to the expansion of local businesses -- companies Bater believes are the true drivers of The Battlefords' economy. When a local small business buys land, hires staff, contracts out building renovation and makes more sales, it has a ripple effect in the region. When several local companies all do the same thing, the impact is more than a soft wave of commerce.

"People are glad to be here; they're glad to be investing here; they're glad to be living here," Bater said. "All of a sudden you start to look more business friendly."

Those highways used to send Battlefords-raised men and women out west. Now, they're bringing them back home. Visitors from inside the province and outside of its four linear borders are travelling to the region to experience the historical and natural attractions in the area. In short, the routes are bringing money into the community.

The southeast quadrant of the City of North Battleford is the focus of much of the investment in the municipality, said Denis Lavertu, director of business development for the city. The area already boasts a Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Boston Pizza, Staples and is home to the new Gold Eagle Lodge as well as the Gold Eagle Casino. A yet-to-be-announced national retail chain is set to move into the area, as well as a popular home developer, Lavertu said. The Battlefords Tribal Council has big plans for the zone.

The commercial area, on the main North Battleford strip, is where a significant portion of the investment is headed, Lavertu explained. The Battlefords-raised civic employee said he gets three to four inquiries per week about sites available for development in the area.

"I think it's because we've been recognized that we're very competitive in our land pricing," he said. "People are seeing an opportunity where we've had property that had been sitting for 30 years and we're seeing it now where there's two or three offers being put on it for development purposes."

While infrastructure and opportunity are seemingly working together to bring people to the area, Lavertu said there's something else that makes the road into North Battleford all the more special, and it has to do with the commute.

There's a different level of family time here and that is a huge savings," he said. "I don't know if you can put a price on that."

Battlefords ride immigration wave
'That's what I like, freedom'
Cassandra Kyle, The StarPhoenix
Published: Thursday, April 24, 2008
Not all immigrants coming to Saskatchewan are headed to the province's two largest cities. StarPhoenix reporter Cassandra Kyle recently spent two days in the Battlefords and has produced a three-part report on a community of 20,000 that has attracted 300 immigrants in the past year. Today: Besides more than 40 Chinese workers who help staff the Maple Leaf bacon plant, there is a growing community of more than 300 ethnic Ruthenians who are leaving poor economic prospects in Serbia, some of whom have already launched their own construction businesses. Friday: Affordable housing is an issue in the Battlefords.

- - -

THE BATTLEFORDS -- In the three years Slavko Perepeljuk has called North Battleford home, he has proudly welcomed family after family of fellow ethnic Ruthenians from his mother country of Serbia to the western Saskatchewan city.

Perepeljuk sponsored nearly 20 of those families himself, allowing dozens of people to leave their day-to-day lives in Serbia for new opportunities on the Canadian Prairies. They come, he explained, simply to work hard and build a better life for their children.

With the slim, energetic man and his transplanted Ruthenian friends and religious organizations sending the word back to Serbia about their fondness for the region, there's no reason not to expect more families to immigrate to The Battlefords. Already there are nearly 300 members of the ethnic group starting anew in the area. More are patiently waiting in Eastern Europe to experience a life Perepeljuk, a professional cook turned lumberyard worker, can only explain with a smile.

"Here it is so big and (there's) only one million people. That's what I like, freedom," he explains. "Big freedom."

Perepeljuk is clear when he's asked whether he misses home.

"No, not really," he answers, excusing himself to check on the lemon soup he has prepared for A Taste of Culture, a small weekend cultural fair presented in early April by The Battlefords Immigration Resource Centre to showcase the region's newfound ethnic diversity.

"What we bring (is) a little bit of culture and lots of working power," he said about the Ruthenian effect on The Battlefords. "Because back home we had to work eight hours a day and then we had to go to the farm and work another eight hours."

The Ruthenian booth is set up beside a showcase of local First Nations artists, across the way from an exhibit on the Philippines. The German group has set up its display up down the hall. Ukrainian, Indian, Scottish, Norwegian, Metis and Danish exhibits fill the remainder of North Battleford's Agrivilla. A steady supply of western fare -- hot dogs, cheeseburgers and fries -- are also nearby.

Clearly, the immigrants from Serbia aren't the only newcomers to the area, said Kathy McNinch, program manager and immigration support co-ordinator with the resource centre. In the past 18 months, more than 300 people have immigrated to the City of North Battleford and the Town of Battleford, according to resource centre data.

About 40 of the immigrants came from China. Most of them work at Maple Leaf Consumer Foods' bacon processing plant. Others came from the countries represented at the fair -- Serbia, Ukraine, Philippines and Germany, McNinch said.

There are another 20 Chinese immigrants moving to The Battlefords shortly, she added, and 40 more Serbian families are applying to move to the community.

For an area with a combined population of just under 20,000, the influx of immigrants to The Battlefords is having an effect on the community's cultural identity and the region's economy. Most of the people moving to The Battlefords are coming with a job offer and spouses often find employment soon after, McNinch explained.

"The majority of them have stayed and have been quite successful. There's lots of work if they want it and there's lots of things to do," she said. "I never thought it would get this big."

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Font:****The transition into a new home, a new job and a new culture is rarely flawless, however. The language barrier is a challenge for some and getting accustomed to new workplace rules and customs -- often less strict -- takes some time, McNinch said.

The resource centre's volunteers and settlement services assist with some of the problems that arise. Moving to an area where an immigrant's ethnic community already exists, however, provides support in a way keeping newcomers on the path to The Battlefords.

"I can't even imagine for myself how it would be if you immigrated to a country where somebody at least speaks your language or there was a contact that can speak your language. That's half the battle. I think that's why the cultural groups are coming because there are already people here who speak their language and understand where they're from," she said.

For some residents of The Battlefords, the cultural growth of the community has been a long time coming. Ranji James, who grew up in North Battleford and recently returned after more than 20 years away from the city, is pleased to see the area expand its multicultural roots. Her own ethnic community, however, is declining.

James, dressed in a saffron-yellow sari, has been waiting for the change to come about.

"It's about time," she said while running the fair's Indian exhibit. "I grew up here and it was a difficult community when I was growing up, but now I'm thrilled. People are travelling more and I think that helps. I think that makes a big difference."

Others are happy as well. When Catherine Bongosia came to the area in 1996, she could count the number of people in The Battlefords' Filipino community on two hands. Now, the organized group boasts 80 to 85 members and more are on the way, including a handful of nurses recruited by the provincial government.

"(For) the new people that are coming, it's kind of nice that we have this (group) because then they can see we're together. It's a good feeling for them that people are united here," Bongosia said, her husband Allan and three-year-old daughter Shemaiah by her side.

While life in The Battlefords is enjoyed by the new Canadians, not everything is perfect.

Bongosia, who works as a special care aide at the district health centre but was trained as a nurse in the Philippines, thinks it would be nice if her education background and those of others in her situation were accredited here more easily.

James believes more post-secondary facilities would keep newcomers, especially those in the Indian community, in The Battlefords.

Perepeljuk has concerns about available housing and jobs.

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Font:****"What we don't understand is why everything is going so high, like houses, and (why people haven't) built any factory or other place for work. There's lots of people coming and soon there will be something we'll need for work . . . and we cannot bring much more people because there is not any more space to put the people," he said, adding 10 Ruthenian families are already living in Yorkton where jobs are also available.

More soccer games, he said, would also be nice.

"We don't have enough young people. It's mostly people over 40, 35. Nobody likes to run," he said, again through his big smile.

Compared to home, however, problems in The Battlefords are minimal. Perepelijuk estimates 95 per cent of the Ruthenians in the area are happy with their new opportunities and most of them are glad to make their home in the Canadian Prairies.

"Thank you for taking us," he says.

joelpiecowye Apr 26, 2008 7:21 PM

here is also a their plans for a new resort, spa, hockey/curling, mall, soccer field, casino center

jayrod19 May 4, 2008 12:12 PM

So what would you like to know about Weyburn? How bout three of the 4-storey condos going up from the 2007 season? one is complete, other two are still u/c. Most likely there will be more condos being built in the 08' season as all of the new residential lots are sold out(51 lots) already which were finished in the fall. 75 lots( somewheres around there) are planned to be completed by fall of 08', the land is all leveled, it just has to be serviced for water, power, and what not.

For commercial/industrial as far as i've seen around town is obviously the new Ramada Hotel being built in the so called "power centre" of Weyburn along the highway into town, it is planned to open in july. Also in the "power centre" is a new car wash being built right away with a six store strip mall attached to the car wash right next to the Tim Horton's. In the downtown area there is several projects which are taking place. The first is the pharmasave expansion, they will be doubling there current floor space. Second is the old co-op building(corner of 3rd st. & souris ave.), which is being completely renovated. All of the windows have been replaced with new ones. The top two floors will be office and the main and basement floors will be retail space. Third project is called New Age Motorsports, it is a branch of New Age Electronics. It Will be a brand new building, most likely tin siding:hell: , it will be a polaris dealership. that's all the info i know about that. Fourth project downtown is still unknown what is going on the lot. All I can tell you is, it has been for sale for several years and was just sold a couple of months ago. Also the Weyburn mall(City Centre Mall) was bought by an Alberta company, hopefully they will bring some life into the place as the mall is pretty much empty. I think that is all for downtown. For industrial, they have started land leveling along 16th street and the railway
Other stuff would be a new gas station being built at main tracks cafe. I guess the major project of 08' will be the restoration of the souris valley mental hospital. purchased the building for $1. The contract was for them to put $1 millon into the building by jan. 1st of 08' or else the building would go back to the city of Weyburn, which they didn't do. But of course city council extended the contract to the 1st of june or the end of june. There are still no signs of the company putting $1million into the place, there has been zero news about the place since city council extended the contract.

Ruckus May 6, 2008 7:51 AM

^ Thank you, it is nice to hear about the smaller Saskatchewan communities (especially those tied to the resource sectors), photos would be a bonus ;)

joelpiecowye May 8, 2008 10:23 PM

Nuclear plant proposed for drinking-water lake
Area near Saskatchewan's Lake Diefenbaker called 'preferred site' for plant
Canwest News Service
Published: Thursday, May 08, 2008
SASKATOON -- A lake that helps provide drinking water to about 40 per cent of Saskatchewan residents is the provincial power utility's preferred site for a nuclear power plant, a national media outlet reported Wednesday.

CBC News said a report by Stantec Consulting Ltd., prepared in February 2007, says a power plant at Elbow, near Lake Diefenbaker in southern Saskatchewan, would be preferable to other sites.

"Potentially, the Lake Diefenbaker region could be the site of a Candu 6 plant configured with two steam turbine generators instead of the standard 750-megawatt, single-steam turbine unit," the report said.

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Font:****"Plant output from this option would be split equally between Saskatchewan and Alberta."

Noted in the report is the area's large water supply, necessary for generating nuclear power.

CBC says the report also cautions that approximately 40 per cent of Saskatchewan residents get their drinking water from the Lake Diefenbaker watershed.

The report, commissioned by the previous NDP government, suggests more studies before any location is chosen.

Earlier this week, Saskatchewan Natural Resources Minister Bill Boyd confirmed Alberta and Saskatchewan are competing to house Western Canada's first commercial nuclear power plant.

Boyd said his Saskatchewan Party government has held "early" talks with Bruce Power LP, the private nuclear operator from Western Ontario.

Bruce Power had previously laid out plans for a $10-billion-plus nuclear complex near Peace River, Alta., about 450 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, operating by 2017.

But the company has left the door open to other sites.

joelpiecowye May 8, 2008 10:23 PM

SaskPower prefers Lake Diefenbaker for nuclear plant
SaskPower report names site near Elbow as preferred location for nuclear reactor
Angela Hall and James Wood, The Leader-Post and Saskatchewan News Network
Published: Thursday, May 08, 2008
REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Party government denied that the Lake Diefenbaker area has been picked as the home of any future nuclear reactor even as a 2007 SaskPower report naming a site near Elbow as the preferred location surfaced Wednesday.

The document, prepared under the previous NDP government, was leaked to CBC a day after Sask. Party Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd said in Calgary the government would welcome development from private sector nuclear company Bruce Power LP, which has recently expressed interest in Saskatchewan.

But Crown Corporations Minister Ken Cheveldayoff said Wednesday the SaskPower document prepared under the NDP was of limited relevance because it was based on the idea of the Crown corporation itself building and operating a nuclear plant, which the government has ruled out.

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A site near Elbow was named in a SaskPower report as the preferred location for a nuclear reactor.

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Font:****"It underscores some of the needs of a reactor and some of the places it would make sense in Saskatchewan. But on further examination it's a very preliminary study and I'm told before a reactor would be contemplated an extensive study would have to be done," Cheveldayoff told reporters.

He said there are numerous other potential sites for a nuclear plant in the province besides those mentioned in the report.

The 2007 report, which was prepared by Stantec Consulting, looked at potential candidates for a nuclear power plant either around Lake Diefenbaker or near Lac La Loche.

A site on the eastern shore of the Lake Diefenbaker was said to be the "preferred site," with the document noting it is easily accessible from Regina and Saskatoon and is near communities such as Elbow and Outlook, which would be helpful for potential employees.

However, the report also noted that the lake -- a "multipurpose reservoir" -- provides domestic water for about 40 per cent of Saskatchewan, including water drawn from the South Saskatchewan river downstream of the reservoir.

The report said the agricultural land in the area will "likely have no influence on the potential plant development and operation."

"The recreational areas, however, may be a potential constraint as these locations have campsites and the locations could be difficult to evacuate should that be required during an emergency event."

Elbow Mayor David Cross said he had been unaware of the SaskPower report and the fact his region had been named as a potential site for a nuclear plant.

"We would be interested in economic development here just like most places in Saskatchewan," Cross said.

But the area also relies heavily on tourism and wouldn't want to jeopardize that either, he said.

"There's a balance to be had here," he said.

"If the water from such a nuclear plant were going to warm the lake water to the extent where we had algae blooms or it was detrimental the fish stock or whatever else, I think that would generate concern for the community, too."

Cross said it's his personal opinion that there is "nothing innately scary" about the idea of nuclear power but understands a number of concerns about the technology would have to be addressed if it were to ever move forward in the area.

NDP Deputy Leader Pat Atkinson said she had never viewed the SaskPower document, but knew that the NDP ruled out proceeding with the idea of a nuclear plant because it did not make economic sense.

But Atkinson said that since the Sask. Party has acknowledged it talked with Bruce Power about a nuclear plant, the government is obligated to make public which sites in Saskatchewan are being considered. She called Lake Diefenbaker a "very problematic" potential location given its importance as a water source.

However, Boyd told reporters at the legislature that Bruce Power expressed only general interest in Saskatchewan -- not in any specific site -- in the recent meeting he had with company president Duncan Hawthorne.

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Font:****Hawthorne also said Wednesday the company is not eyeing a particular site.

Peter Prebble, manger of energy and water policy with the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, said the province should rule out the nuclear route altogether and focus instead on large-scale energy conservation efforts and on more renewable energy such as wind power.

Prebble, a former NDP MLA who did not run in the last election, said Lake Diefenbaker as a possible location raises particular concerns given the amount of people who rely on it as a source of drinking water.

"I think the risk of a serious accident is very low. But if it does happen the consequences are crippling," said Prebble, adding there are also day-to-day concerns about the impact on water.

He said a reactor would also "put Saskatchewan on the map as a potential high-level radioactive waste repository site."

Cheveldayoff said the SaskPower document had not been publicly released by the Sask. Party -- which has repeatedly promised to make public all government work on the province's nuclear potential -- because a confidentiality agreement had been signed under the previous NDP government.

The $60,000 report was partially funded by federal Crown corporation Atomic Energy Canada Ltd.

Ruckus May 10, 2008 1:28 AM

More SP articles :D

Harnessing the boom
An expanding resource sector golden chance for local growth. Small towns learning to cope with economy
Rod Nickel, The StarPhoenix
Published: Friday, May 09, 2008

COLONSAY -- Tyler and Terrilynn Young wanted it all.

Two years ago, they packed up their three kids and left nearby Allan for the slightly larger Colonsay, where they could make affordable plans to build a house and stay close to family.

They like the lifestyle so much that they chose to live in this town 63 kilometres east of Saskatoon while Tyler works as a journeyman mechanic in the Drayton Valley, Alta., oilpatch, a seven-hour drive away.

"I think we will stay here quite a while," Tyler Young, 32, said contentedly, sitting at the kitchen table in a modest home the couple is renting as their new 1,300-square-foot bungalow is built. "I like the quiet."

Colonsay had everything but a job. Now it's getting plenty of those, too.

This sleepy town of 462 is poised for growth after three census periods of stagnation, thanks to Mosaic Co.'s plan to add 162 jobs at its expanding potash mine eight kilometres away. Colonsay is one of a dozen or more small Saskatchewan communities with a rare chance to boom as the resource sector explodes.

Job growth in potash mines, oilfields and perhaps diamond and coal mines are turning talk of survival into a swaggering sense of prosperity in places such as Colonsay, Estevan and La Loche.

High housing prices in Saskatoon and Alberta have already sent a trickle of young families to Colonsay. Not since its potash mine opened in 1968 has the town had a similar shot at growth.

But there's more to attracting residents than creating jobs.

Many workers at the Colonsay mine live in Saskatoon, Watrous, Humboldt and Langham, says Mosaic spokesperson Brad DeLorey. Staffing Mosaic's expanding Esterhazy mine is likewise a regional effort.

"Let's be realistic -- you're not going to get 'em all," said Colonsay Mayor Jim Gray. "I would just be happy to get a portion of them, see the town grow and keep the school."


Gray, a retired farmer, knows how to make a sales pitch too, lauding Colonsay's water quality, rink, golf course, pool and churches -- "we have three" -- as amenities to attract residents. Fuel prices might encourage more miners to live closer to work.

Even the promise of hundreds of new jobs is no guarantee a town will grow, says Rose Olfert, a professor in the University of Saskatchewan department of agricultural economics.

"Where people work doesn't necessarily determine where they live. And when people choose where they live, they're looking for a package of amenities, maybe a place where the spouse can work, where there are other facilities available. That is indeed a complex issue."

For that reason, larger communities such as Weyburn in the Bakken oil play region may be in a better position to boom, she said, than smaller towns. Housing new workers is the biggest challenge. Colonsay has no more than a handful of homes for sale. So it's hatching an ambitious plan to sell up to 78 serviced lots -- at cost -- to attract new mine families.

The town wants to sell 14 serviced lots this summer at $25,000 apiece to a combination of professional builders and people building for themselves.

Once those sell, it will service 20 more. After that, if demand warrants, it's planning to service and sell another 44 lots at the other end of town. That's when Colonsay may have to pay the price of success.

The town's sewer capacity will max out after the next 78 homes are built, Gray says. That leaves Colonsay town council to contemplate infrastructure such as another $250,000 sewage lagoon -- roughly the equivalent cost of Colonsay's entire annual budget.

"It's going to get expensive," Gray says. "You're looking at small-town Saskatchewan. You can only go so far in the hole."

That leaves Colonsay in a dilemma of whether to spend money on housing and hope for the best or play it safe but risk being penny-wise, pound-foolish.

"They can develop the houses and they may or may not get the people," Olfert says. "If they don't build the housing they can be pretty sure nothing will happen."

To Colonsay's small business community, the potential payoff is worth the town's efforts to harness the potash boom.

Jim Walker owes to the mine half the sales at his one-man cabinet-making business. His cabinets hang in the offices of the mine buildings. Wooden wedges and blocks he fashioned are used in production.

"It's going to be a good thing for this area, for sure," said Walker, who has been in the carpentry business for 31 years. "It always has been. What would we do without it?"

Ben and Muling Liang got by for seven years running Colonsay's Chinese food restaurant before striking oil. They signed a contract with the mine to deliver "overtime lunches." Mosaic buys a meal for any worker putting in at least two hours of OT.

Eight years after signing the contract, Ben's Place delivers up to 500 meals per month to workers at the mine.

"(The mine is) too important," says Ben Liang, sitting at one of his kitchen-countertop-style tables. "Otherwise we won't make any money in this small town. The more people work there, more chance for us to make money."


One of Saskatchewan's poorest communities finds itself happily caught between the Saskatchewan and Alberta oilsands. Jobs at either location could provide a quick, lasting fix for La Loche's 85 per cent unemployment rate.

But La Loche needs basic infrastructure such as sewer and water mains, lift stations, streets and houses if it's going to ride the economic wave of the Alberta oilsands to the west and Saskatchewan oilsands a two-hour drive north. There are few hotel rooms or office space.

The northern village of 2,348 doesn't even have a bank, but village officials met recently with a credit union, says Mayor Georgina Jolibois.

Oilsands Quest Inc. hopes to start construction on a $5-billion oilsands project by 2012. If it produces 100,000 barrels of bitumen daily as projected, it would be producing one-third of the petroleum the province currently pumps out of the southern part of the province.

"It's an extremely important development for La Loche," Jolibois says. "(There are) oh, so many opportunities -- employment, more housing to be built, infrastructure to accommodate the existing population and other people who may choose to live in La Loche."

The northern village's housing corporation, Methy Construction, has a plan to build 70 single-family homes on new serviced lots. The village met with June Draude, the minister of First Nations and Metis Relations, last week about help paying for it. Jolibois left without a commitment, but is encouraged senior governments are in.

"We are optimistic we are going to get the financial support we need to move this project forward."


Southeastern Saskatchewan is also measuring economic development by the barrel.

In 2007, there were 1,055 wells drilled in the region, according to the Ministry of Energy and Resources. This year, the conservative estimate is 1,100, including about half in the Estevan area. Each drill fleet employs 40-50 people, says Michel Cyrenne, community development manager for the Estevan & District Board of Tourism, Trade and Commerce.

That may be just the beginning.

The Bakken oil play, straddling the border and taking in Saskatchewan, Montana and North Dakota, has 3.65 billion barrels of recoverable oil on the American side alone, according to the United States Geological Survey.

There's no estimate for the Bakken's riches north of the border. But Saskatchewan's Bakken play has produced about four million barrels since production began in 2002 and fueled record-breaking land sales.

For Estevan, that means direct jobs working on the rigs and spinoff benefits for nearly everyone else.

"(The retail sector) are getting a lot of the benefits of this increased activity," Cyrenne said. "It's a booming economy and relatively affordable housing here in Estevan so people have a lot of disposable income."

Jobs may be plentiful, but people to fill them are not, Cyrenne says. There are currently 530 jobs posted in Estevan, including oilpatch trades and transport jobs and many retail openings.

The other major challenge is a lack of hotel rooms and homes for incoming oilpatch workers, Cyrenne says.

"I was in Calgary about a month ago and people in Calgary are hearing about Estevan a lot and are considering relocating to this area. It's on the radar across Western Canada."


Potash, uranium, oil and gas may be driving the Saskatchewan economy now. But other small communities are eyeing diamonds and coal as lifelines.

After being kicked around by the forestry industry for the last few years, Hudson Bay is hoping a newly discovered coal deposit 50 kilometres east of the town eventually becomes a mine employing hundreds.

"It's exciting news, but I'm a cautious optimist," said Mayor Elvina Rumak. "It's all in the test-hole stages."

The surprise announcement Monday by Goldsource Mines that it had found a potentially large deposit of high-ranked coal may create just enough hope to keep laid-off workers around, Rumak says.

Weyerhaeuser announced last month it's closing its oriented strandboard plant in the town, putting 170 people out of work. That follows a February announcement by Weyerhaeuser that its Hudson Bay softwood plywood mill and Carrot River softwood stud mill, which had been temporarily shut down since January 2007, would close permanently.

"I don't really think the people want to leave the area at all," Rumak said. "Everybody likes Hudson Bay."

The 2,500 residents of the James Smith First Nation, located across the Saskatchewan River from a kimberlite exploration site, have as much to gain as anyone if Shore Gold and partner Newmont Mining Corp. of Canada build a diamond mine. More than half of the reserve's residents are unemployed.

"It's going to fulfil everything for the First Nations people. We're going to go far with this," said band councillor John Mcleod.

The problem is it takes a 90-minute drive to get to the site over the nearest bridge. The exploration site is no more than four minutes away as the crow flies.

Mcleod says he's confident the federal government will step up to build a new bridge if the diamond mine becomes reality.

"Everything is going to be positive."

Colonsay stands to get busier in the next few years, but small-town guy Tyler Young says that's OK with him.

"It gives people an optimistic outlook," he said.

After all, prosperity may bring the kind of job Young is looking for, at a fair wage. Right now, he's earning $10 an hour more in Alberta than he would in Saskatchewan.

Cabinet-maker Jim Walker has seen the town grow and shrink before. But he, too, is enjoying the ride.

"I just wish I was 20 years younger so I could take advantage of it," he said, breaking into a wide grin that almost dislodged the pencil over his ear. Instead, Walker, 61, plans to retire around the time the mine completes its expansion.

"It's a good way to finish up. For sure."

- - -


Colonsay: Mosaic is expanding three mines, creating 162 permanent jobs at Colonsay between 2011-12.

Belle Plaine: 270 jobs at the Mosaic mine, most created between 2013-15.

Esterhazy: 307 Mosaic jobs, most between 2015-17.

Construction work on the three mine expansions is estimated at 4,552 person years. That roughly translates into hundreds more jobs over a seven-year period.

La Loche: Oilsands Quest hopes to start building a $5-billion oilsands project north of the village by 2012. There are already hundreds of people working in a camp at Axe Lake.

Estevan, Weyburn and other communities: At least 1,100 wells are being drilled this year in the Bakken play.


James Smith First Nation: Shore Gold and its partner is spending nearly $95 million this year on diamond exploration.

Hudson Bay: Two wood plants are closing, but Goldsource Mines Inc. has discovered a major coal deposit 50 kilometres east of the town.


jayrod19 May 14, 2008 4:45 AM

i took some pictures of most of the projects going on in Weyburn and some random photos, but can't figure out how to post em. do i have to register with or some other photo storing site, or is there another way i can do it without registering somewheres.

A friend and i were talking about what kind of businesses were going to be going into the new land they are leveling out right now, they wouldn't be leveling that much land if there was nobody going in there( i'd say the land they are leveling is about 1km long by 1/2 to 3/4 km wide). i had no idea what will be going there, but my friend said saskpower is building a new building in there and a new substation. To make this new saskpower building a little more true, i overheard my boss talking to somebody from saskpower in his office and my boss asked if saskpower had to pay for any of the excavating and leveling the land and what not. thats all i heard from that.

Ruckus May 14, 2008 5:01 AM


Originally Posted by jayrod19 (Post 3551257)
i took some pictures of most of the projects going on in Weyburn and some random photos, but can't figure out how to post em. do i have to register with or some other photo storing site, or is there another way i can do it without registering somewheres.

Yeah, I use (you don't have to register), works too, there are many different hosting sites.

After uploading your photos you can come back to SSP and create a new post with the photos by hitting the image button (icon with mountain peaks/sun) and pasting the url of each photo.

That's all :)

ReginaGuy May 21, 2008 6:42 PM

River Street in Moose Jaw is about to get a HUGE facelift in the next few years.

newflyer May 22, 2008 1:18 AM


Originally Posted by ReginaGuy (Post 3566163)
River Street in Moose Jaw is about to get a HUGE facelift in the next few years.


ReginaGuy May 22, 2008 4:48 AM


Originally Posted by newflyer (Post 3566940)

Well I recently found out that a few buildings facing River Street are scheduled to be demolished.. After checking with some reliable sources I found out that a developer has bought a huge chunk of the block between Main and 1st Avenue. This is all I know for sure, the rest is only speculation, but apparently plans call for a new hotel and mall with the possibility of River Street being covered.

It sucks that some buildings will need to be razed, but on the upper hand, a large part of that block is currently empty lots, and it'll be nice to see the site of that old heritage building on Main and River be filled again (the building burned down a few years ago if I remember correctly)

But you didn't hear it from me!

CCF May 28, 2008 4:30 AM

Plans for River Street. Shame that the buildings are facing the wrecking ball.


Buildings being demolished to make way for hotel/shopping district print this article
The Moose Jaw Times Herald

On ground level, shops will line either side of the zero block of River Street West.
One story above, a 74-100 room hotel, complete with a coffee shop and steakhouse, will connect across the street with skywalks. Tourists can park in the underground parking at the north end of the street.
How much will this venture cost?
“Many millions of dollars,” said Moose Jaw’s Neil Montgomery, who along with his son Todd and some Calgary investors are redeveloping River Street.
To make way for the major project, the team bought the Brunswick Hotel, Royal Hotel and Nevada Nickels, which should all be demolished by the end of this year. Construction on the major hotel/shopping district project should begin in early 2009, with plans for completion by 2011.
Montgomery said the development group had investigated the possibility of incorporating the existing hotels’ facades for the project, but said doing so would have been “near impossible” and incredibly expensive.
However, Montgomery said the development will recreate the retro feel of the 1930s and ’40s, reusing much of the brick and other material from the demolished hotels.
Something the developers also plan to incorporate into the project are replicas of the existing River Street murals.
Montgomery said the originals can’t be saved, but his group would do the next best thing.
“That has been a very key part for ourselves and our architects out of Calgary.”
Also, the development would be designed as such that other murals could be added in the future.

Nevada Nickels set for closure Sept. 15
Moose Jaw’s Nevada Nickels is going to take full advantage of its last summer in existence, offering various events before it meets the wrecking ball along with the other establishments on the zero block of River Street West.
Dan Langlois, bar/hotel owner, said his bar and hotel is closing on Sept. 15, but he’s going to make sure there are lots of customer appreciation events between now and then, sending the establishment off in style.
He said most of his 15 employees agreed to stay with him until the doors close for good.
Langlois, who has owned Nevada Nickels for 13 years, said he is sad the 103-year-old building will be demolished.
However, he believes the incoming development will be a huge bonus for the neighbourhood, and the sum offered to him for his business was too much to refuse.
“Opportunities come not that often in our business to sell, and I couldn’t give up the opportunity.”
One reason Langlois negotiated the late-summer closing date was so he could give ample time for his employees to find a new job, as well as help the 18 residents of his hotel find new homes.
“Some of them have been here since I’ve been here.”
Owners of the Brunswick Hotel and Royal Hotel also sold their buildings to the same development group as Langlois, consisting of Moose Jaw’s Todd and Neil Montgomery as well as partners from Calgary.
Langlois said the developers told him they want to keep as much of the historic element on the street as possible.

socialisthorde May 30, 2008 1:00 AM


Ruckus May 31, 2008 11:03 PM


JRI Proceeds with Canola Crushing Plant
Written by Neil Billinger - 600 Action News-Local First
Friday, 30 May 2008

Yorkton will be home to a pair of new canola crushing plants after all.

In September 2006 . . . James Richardson International (JRI) and Louis Dreyfus announced plans to build facilities that would be able to crush more than 800-thousand tonnes of canola per year.

However . . . rising construction costs created delays for both companies.

Louis Dreyfus solved the problem by taking on a Japanese partner. Its $120 million plant will be ready by the middle of 2009.

JRI reviewed its engineering plans to make sure there would be no unexpected cost overruns. The board of directors has now given the final go-ahead for construction . . . and the plant should be running by the spring of 2010.

JRI spokesman Jean-Marc Rouest confirms the plant will cost in excess of $100 million . . . but will not release an exact figure. It will be same same size as orginally announced . . . crushing 2400 metric tonnes of canola a day and producing 1,000 metric tonnes of fully refined food grade oil per day.

He says JRI's network of Pioneer Grain elevators will make it possible to move canola from long distances to the Yorkton plant, if necessary.


Official news release...


JRI Confirms Construction of Yorkton Canola Processing Plant
May 30, 2008 12:00:00


May 30, 2008

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – James Richardson International Limited (JRI) today announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously approved the immediate construction of a canola processing plant in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

In September 2006, JRI announced its intention to build a state-of-the-art canola processing plant in Yorkton as an expansion of its existing food processing business. However, the unexpected and dramatic escalation of construction costs required JRI to review its engineering specifications and satisfy itself as to the strength of its costing estimates before moving forward. The required review has now been completed and JRI has concluded that the project will proceed as planned.

“This is a very important decision for JRI and for the Richardson family” said Hartley T. Richardson, JRI Chairman and President and Chief Executive Officer of JRI’s parent company James Richardson & Sons, Limited. “It increases and diversifies our presence in the agri-food industry on a global basis and ensures that our food processing business will continue to grow. In the past year we have expanded our traditional grain-handling business through the acquisition of former Agricore United assets and we are now turning our attention to the growth of our food processing operations.”

JRI currently owns and operates Canbra Foods Ltd., Canada’s largest fully integrated canola crushing/refining/processing/packaging plant located in Lethbridge, Alberta. The addition of the new plant, capable of processing 840,000 metric tonnes of canola per year, will triple JRI’s canola oil production.

JRI President Curt Vossen commented on the importance of adding the Yorkton plant to JRI’s current canola processing business. “Over the past several years, we have witnessed a significant increase in the demand for vegetable oil generally, and canola oil specifically, on a global basis for food and biofuel. The construction of the Yorkton processing plant will allow us to better meet the existing and future needs of our world-wide customer base.”

Mr. Richardson also commented on the rationale for delaying construction of the plant and the timeline for construction. “An investment of this magnitude requires a proper mix of caution and optimism. Given the escalation in the cost of building materials and labour, along with the volatility in agricultural commodity prices, it was important that we satisfy ourselves of the project’s long-term viability. A key ingredient to the success of the Richardson group of companies over more than 150 years of operation has been its commitment to making the right decision rather than an expedient one. Now that we have made the decision to proceed, we will do so swiftly and expect the plant to commence production in the second quarter of 2010.”

JRI looks forward to increasing its corporate presence in the Yorkton area. “JRI is very pleased to have developed a close working relationship with the Rural Municipality of Orkney over the past several months. The Municipality should be commended for its hard work in support of the project and we look forward to working with them, and the City of Yorkton, throughout the plant’s construction and for several years in the future” said Mr. Vossen.

The construction of the plant will be led by FWS Industrial Projects Ltd. as construction manager, with a complete team of contractors and engineers retained for all key elements of construction. Please refer to background information for further details.


bcm2008 Jun 10, 2008 7:49 PM

Housing boom comes to rural Prairie province
Kevin Hursh, Vancouver Sun; Canwest News Service
Published: Wednesday, May 28, 2008
SASKATCHEWAN I For decades, generations even, rural Saskatchewan has been emptying out. There have been a few notable exceptions, but up until the past couple of years, the populations of towns, villages and rural municipalities across the province have been steadily dwindling.

According to conventional wisdom, the trend was largely irreversible. Farms have been getting larger and that means fewer farmers and more consolidated support industries for agriculture. There weren't enough value-added agricultural activities to compensate.

Most towns had scads of homes for sale with very few buyers. Bargain basement prices prevailed. The past couple years what many thought impossible has happened.

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Font:****In a lot of small and large towns, you can hardly find a house to buy and if you do, the price has increased dramatically. Older houses that no one wanted a few years ago are being gobbled up and renovated. Even houses in old farmyards are in demand. The resource industries, particularly oil and gas are booming. The grain industry isn't directly responsible for a lot of the population growth, but there is tremendous optimism and that has certainly helped the mood in rural areas.

People are moving back to Saskatchewan and it isn't only the cities that are benefiting. Rural Saskatchewan still has issues and problems, but there has been an amazing reversal of fortunes. Local governments are scrambling to switch from survival mode to a growth mode.

I'm most familiar with communities on the western side of the province, but colleague Lorne McClinton says the same thing is happening in his region in south eastern Saskatchewan. He says two years ago, his community of Yellow Grass was slowly dying.

One by one, small houses were abandoned by owners, eventually condemned and finally demolished by the town. One year ago, McClinton says you could buy a 50-foot lot for $50 and a 100-foot lot for $100. No one wanted them. Now the town has bumped the price to $5,000 for a 50-foot lot and $10,000 for a 100-foot lot. Most have sold and the town office gets several calls a day.

Two or three years ago, for a two-bedroom home with single-car garage built in the mid-70s, you would be lucky to get $40,000, says McClinton. Now, he estimates it's worth at least $125,000.

"It is quite different to feel a sense of real optimism and growth," says McClinton. "Friends and I were discussing how different the conversations are now than they were just a year or so ago. Last year we were wondering if the school would close. This year we are building new subdivisions. People are quite excited."

At the moment two house are being built and three ready-to-move homes will soon be moved into Yellow Grass. The town is thinking of developing a new subdivision. Perhaps even more promising, says McClinton, is that people from outside the community have come in to purchase the store and a bunch of commercial property along the highway. Their feeling is that with the incredible amount of drilling and development of the Bakken oil field east of Weyburn that the town is going to have a boom not seen since the region was initially settled 100 plus years ago.

For farmers, a growing rural economy means the retention of local services and a more vibrant community in which to raise a family. There will be a few challenges with the growth and development, but overall it's an amazing time for Saskatchewan.

Kevin Hursh is a farmer and former journalist based in Saskatchewan. He can be reached at

This article just so happens to be about my small little town! It's exciting to witness the boom in Yellow Grass, SK. The fact that they will be starting a new subdivision this year is just craziness! All the lots have sold, and people are just waiting for more land to open up. It's just weird how fast things can change once your economy starts to boom. Yellow Grass has been dying down for years and now it may hit a boom like the early 1900's! Also a developer bought a piece of land on the out skirts of Yellow Grass, and is planning on building 40 new town houses. That could be a population gain of almost 120 people if you do the math. I'm pretty sure theres more where this came from and I'm so excited to here of new developements in my town!!! Go YG!!!!!! :)

jayrod19 Jun 17, 2008 12:20 AM


CBC News Explores Saskaboom Economy

Saskatchewan's economy is booming with double-digit growth and record revenues in everything from wheat and potash to oil. Below the quiet prairie earth lays billions of barrels of oil, helping the province to pump out over 200 million barrels a year—17 per cent of Canada's total output. And as the oil boosts towns and cities across Saskatchewan, it is creating opportunities and challenges the province has never seen before. CBC News' chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge and CBC NEWS: THE NATIONAL take a road trip for an in-depth report on the booming prairie province, airing Tuesday, June 24 at 10 p.m. (10:30 p.m. NT) on CBC Television and 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET/PT on CBC Newsworld.

Born and raised in Swift Current, Sask., Premier Brad Wall has seen a great deal of change in his province over the last few decades. The Premier joins Mansbridge in this special broadcast to discuss his perspective on the pitfalls of rapid growth, the severe labour shortage and lessons learned from Alberta.

Mansbridge visits Weyburn, Sask., a tiny town that has really taken off. The daycare is full, the pharmacy is doubling in size to meet demand and the labour market is so tight that the town has lost its fire chief and a policeman to the oil patch. Viewers meet the Chessall family, whose home furnishing store is booming along with the town, but the town's builders are so busy that the Chessall's are having difficulty building a bigger store. Mayor Debra Button expresses her concern over the rapid growth of the town.

The abundance of jobs in the province is offering positive opportunities for Aboriginal residents, who are projected to be the majority in the province by 2040. They now have access to many more jobs in the trades than ever before and there is huge push to train native youth and get them into the workforce.
Road Stories: Saskaboom also looks at Saskatoon's hot housing market, where home prices are soaring faster than new houses can be built. A small condo in Saskatoon now fetches nearly $200,000 and rents are rising all over the city. The anti-poverty coalition says low income residents are getting squeezed by the increase and shelters are turning people away.

Finally, Mansbridge reports on a local athlete competing in the Beijing Olympics this summer. Resident Frazer Will of Star City, Sask., population 400, is making the journey from Star City to the Olympics with Canada's Judo team. Growing up working on his parents' grain farm in Star City, he learned the hard work it takes to realize a dream, and everyone in town will be rooting for him when he gets to Beijing.

jayrod19 Jun 24, 2008 1:51 PM


Souris Valley Bulding Almost Back in Cities Hands PDF Print E-mail
After nearly 2 years, it appears it's over for the Chinese delegation who decided to purchase the Souris Valley Building in Weyburn.

Last night, City council voted against giving a 3 year extension for the agreement.

The deal will expire on June 30th and then the city will once again take over ownership.

Weyburn Mayor Debra Button says it is a little disappointing and on their behalf the Chinese delegation were working very hard to bring this to fruition.

She adds, it comes to a point where the provincial government does have an interest in the building if it does need to be knocked down.

Button says it was a difficult decision to make because of the historical aspects of Souris Valley.

Mayor button adds the $1,000,000 that was part of the original agreement with the delegation would have went a long way into extending the life of the building but with no heat, the seasons have taken their tole on it.

Button says the city is looking at tenders to knock over the building but there may be a still a chance to save it, should a group be interested and the government look over the deal.

That deadline is September 31st.
kinda sucks, i would have liked to see something happen to this building

Ruckus Jun 24, 2008 8:32 PM

Government invests $20M over four years in provincial parks
Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Saskatchewan Provincial Parks got a boost Tuesday morning with its announcement that the number of electrified campsites is being increased by 1,000 over the next four years.

As part of the provincial government's $20 million, four-year investment in provincial parks, 302 campsites will be electrified, including 89 in Pike Lake Provincial Park.

Electrical upgrading of campsites will also take place in Makwa Lake, the Battlefords Provincial Parks and Emma Lake Recreation site.

The funding will also go towards the construction of campground buildings, including new campground service centres in Echo Valley, Rowan's Ravine and Danielson Provincial Parks. A visitor centre and cafe will be built in Cypress Hills and a new beach changehouse in the Battlefords Provincial Parks.



Sask.'s economic boom get national showcase
CBC's The National goes on the road to tell province's story
Cassandra Kyle, The StarPhoenix
Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Peter Mansbridge recalls a time when selling Saskatchewan potash to China was a difficult task.

"I remember going with premier (Allan) Blakeney to China, where he was trying to sell it in 1976, trying to break through to the China market, and it was just a really difficult trip for him on that front," said the award-winning CBC news anchor.

Clearly, times have changed. Back then, Mansbridge said, a tonne of potash sold for $40. In April, the largest distributor of fertilizer products in China -- Sinofert Holdings Ltd. -- agreed to pay $576 US per tonne for the rose-hued nutrient.

The increase in value of Saskatchewan's natural resources, such as potash, is one of the contributing factors to the province's recent economic growth. That growth is the reason why Mansbridge is bringing his team to Saskatoon today for a special edition of CBC News: The National.

Saskaboom, the latest edition of the program's Road Stories feature, will touch on Saskatchewan's good fortune and the challenges it brings, Mansbridge said Monday in an interview from his Toronto office.

"I think the success story of Saskatchewan is one that most Canadians, if you stopped them on the street, probably wouldn't know, and it's a great Canadian story and it should be known," he said

"For (Saskatchewan residents) it will be like just scratching the surface of the story, but for most Canadians it will be their first sense of how well things are going, how the boom has affected life in many parts of the province."

Mansbridge, who lived in Regina and worked as The National's Saskatchewan correspondent in the mid-1970s, believes the focus on Saskatchewan may help central and eastern Canadians clue in to what their western cousins are up to.

"I remember what it was like when I lived both in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and feeling that Toronto, especially, ignored Western Canada," he said. "That sort of runs through a lot of life in the West, not just journalism, but the railways and you name it."

The program will feature stories on how the community of Weyburn is dealing with the boom, the province's housing market and labour shortage and an interview with Premier Brad Wall, among other topics. By the end of the show, Mansbridge hopes Canadians will understand the importance of what is happening in Saskatchewan.

"The bottom line is that Saskatchewan is doing extremely well and in some ways they're trying to manage that good fortune, because if there's anybody in this country it's the people of the West who know things can turn around in a hurry," he said.

Mansbridge's live broadcast of CBC News: The National, Road Stories -- Saskaboom will air on The National at 10 p.m. and on CBC Newsworld at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. CST.

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2008



CBC promotional video: Road Stories - SASKABOOM

"It's a prairie powerhouse...Is Saskatchewan becoming the next Alberta?..."

More fuel for the fire ;)

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