The City of Weyburn is more interested in seeing sustained growth than in experiencing a boom, as many people are characterizing the ongoing growth of construction and businesses in the city, Mayor Debra Button told the Rotary Club in her annual addr
The City of Weyburn is more interested in seeing sustained growth than in experiencing a boom, as many people are characterizing the ongoing growth of construction and businesses in the city, Mayor Debra Button told the Rotary Club in her annual address to their members on Apr. 21.
The same night, the club inducted three new members, including April Sampson, Peter Lauf and Janice Giroux. Sampson has been an honourary member of the club for nine and a half years, including acting as the club's pianist, and decided to take a full membership.
In describing the "state of the city" in her address, Mayor Button said, "I don't like 'booms'. I think they're dangerous for anyone in business, as with every boom comes a bust or a crash. I don't think we're having a boom in Weyburn. Now don't get me wrong; I'm not against growth, but we want sustained growth, for decades and for generations to come. As a city, we're not just chasing the quick buck."
Speaking of how the city fared in 2010, she said there was good growth in the city due to the ongoing increase in oil activity and good grain prices. As a result, the city issued 175 building permits in 2010 worth over $50 million, including 44 new single-family dwellings and 57 multi-family dwellings for a total of 101 new dwelling units for the year.
There was also a significant increase in the neighbouring RM of Weyburn in their businesses, plus the city has embarked on a three-year agreement as they have partnered with the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce and SEREDA (Southeast Regional Economic Development Authority). Through this agreement, they will look after encouraging business development in the city.
Button noted the city developed and sold 250 new residential lots since 2008, and while currently are sold out of residential lots, they will develop about 75 more this year for sale to those interested in building new homes.
In spite of the new homes being built, however, housing is still a major problem in the southeast, and Mayor Button noted with pride that the city is the first in the southeast to have a housing advisory committee actively working on the issue, with one of their first jobs to complete a needs and demands study of the actual current housing needs in Weyburn.
Coming up in the future, the mayor noted the city has contributed $3 million to partner with the Southeast Cornerstone School Division to help with the construction of the new community-use theatre-gym-convention centre space at the Comp, with the rest of the funds needed to be raised by the Triple C corporation non-profit group, formerly the Performing Arts Centre society.
She pointed out the stage will be 21 feet wider than the Comp stage currently is, and once built the centre will have a capacity of up to 1,250 people, including 525 retractable seats and 200 permanent seats in the balcony.
Asked by Rotary member Alex Miles about what the city will do with the "two orphans" in the city, the Soo Line Museum and Signal Hill, the mayor replied the city has contracted a company to finish off upgrading the 100-foot chimney stack at the museum, so it will be completed restored. As for Signal Hill, she pointed to the city's commitment to the performing arts centre and gym at the Comp, and said that $3 million "is our commitment to arts and culture in the city, although it's not directly related to Signal Hill."
She was asked how far away a new hospital is for Weyburn; Mayor Button noted the city has an upcoming meeting with the Sun Country board, and said, "That's a question we'll be asking. We're coming in at the tail-end of it; there isn't anyone who doesn't see the need for the hospital."
Rotarian Ron Milleker, who is also on the Weyburn Hospital Foundation board, noted the foundation is the fundraising arm, while the decisions about such details as when to build the hospital, where to build it and how much it will cost will be in the hands of the Ministry of Health and the Sun Country Health Region.
He noted part of the difficulty from the fundraising end of things is that contractors often won't give quotes for projects that are more than 30 days away, due to how busy construction companies are right now throughout the province.
"It's tough for the city and for the board of the health region," he said.