WEYBURN - The Prairie Sky Co-operative Association had a strong performance in 2021, with a patronage allocation to members set at $2.4 million, members and staff heard at the annual meeting held at the Weyburn Legion Hall on April 28.
The sales by the Co-op outlets in Weyburn, Milestone, Lang and Beaubier totaled $85.9 million, which is up 20 per cent from the year before, with a net savings to members totaling $4 million.
Out-going board president Brett Ferguson noted that 2021 was the second year of dealing with the COVID pandemic, and commented it was nice to be able to hold the annual meeting in person again after being virtual the previous two years.
He pointed out that one result of the pandemic and the restrictions on businesses and residents is that there has been “a strong movement for supporting local. We were supporting local investments long before the pandemic.”
Ferguson retired from the board of directors as he was elected to a new three-year position as a board member for Federated Co-operatives Ltd., representing this region. He served on the board for nine years, and the other board retiree was Kevin Lohse, who served for 31 years.
The Co-op made a donation to Oungre Memorial Regional Park on Lohse’s behalf, while a donation was made to the community theatre in Weyburn on behalf of Ferguson.
In the board elections for 2022, Nick Coroluick, Jim Linnell and Brent Hansen were re-elected by acclamation for new terms on the board.
There will be a significant payout in patronage this year to members, noted Ferguson, announcing the board has set the following rates: 2.5 per cent on food, pharmacy, home centre, agro and liquor, and 3.5 per cent on fuel and oil purchases.
The patronage allocation will total about $2.4 million, which is up by 46 per cent from last year.
In the report from general manager Kevin Arthur, a highlight for Prairie Sky Co-op was the opening of the new Home Centre store in July 2021, and in addition, a new diesel exhaust fluid tank and dispenser was installed at the Weyburn cardlock to enhance the truck stop facilities at the Crossroads location.
The next big project will be a major renovation of the Weyburn food store, and plans are being drawn up this year to prepare for that.
Arthur noted that, in addition to the outlets in Weyburn, Milestone, Lang and Beaubier, Prairie Sky has provided management support for the Radville Co-op as well as assistance for a number of other area co-operatives.
Prairie Sky donated a total of $107,000 to community organizations, said Danielle Knoll in her member relations report.
Some of the organizations given support included $8,000 to the Co-operative Playschool, $4,000 to the Family Place, and $3,000 to the Sunrise Early Learning Centre located at Legacy Park Elementary.
In addition, funds were raised from the “Fuel Good Day”, with 10 cents a litre given to local charities. This special event provided $1,500 each to the Weyburn Ag Society, the Town of Milestone and the Lake Alma rec board.
Knoll also noted that even with COVID causing a reduction in events and meetings, Co-op employees still provided over 4,000 volunteer hours in 2021, raising funds for various non-profits, providing local entertainment or coaching in minor sports.