It bodes well for Estevan that a certain segment of our population is interested in providing some finesse and detail to their growing community.
Probably for the first time since the mid 1950s, Estevan is being subjected to what is commonly referred to as "urban sprawl."
If the sprawl is allowed to grow unchecked, or with only cursory interest in doing the right things to control the growth, you have some unmitigated messes to clean up 20 or 30 years down the road.
But with proper planning and a little bit of vision being applied, the Energy City appears to have learned a few lessons from that first "boom" period of about 60 years ago.
Last week there were a couple of civic open house events staged in Estevan that illustrated how important it is to plan, map and schedule growth before plunging into construction action.
We saw a municipal planning open house and we saw a community pathways plan being unfolded at another open house just a few blocks away, on the same evening.
That's a good sign of promoted and planned progress.
It is pretty tempting to simply allow developers to barge in and do a little willy-nilly type of construction. Many of these folks are more interested in quick returns on the invested dollars and only vent their frustration at the supposed slow-poke reactions "down at City Hall."
But we must all realize by now that determined and well planned development is the only sensible route to follow. We have far too many examples right within our community where quick growth, rather than planned growth, dictated the day and as a result we've had to spend the next 40 to 50 years cleaning up and resetting the local development maps.
Yes, the simple act of finally paving the leisure centre's parking lot, 19 years after the centre was built, is to be applauded. It means we're finally catching up.
Mapping out new subdivisions, ensuring that curbs, sidewalks, drainage, properly sized and spaced streets, and defined boulevards are now a necessity in Estevan. It wasn't always that way.
Green spaces are now required and planned as well as maintained. Our valley regions are getting some attention. The aforementioned pathways that our citizens enjoy so much are being expanded.
A recent delegation from The Estevan and District Board of Tourism, Trade and Commerce sector pointed out quite correctly the new need to clearly indicate to travellers and motorists where our highlighted areas can be found, through some quality signage.
We see trees being planted where they are wanted and needed, grass sown where it will get a chance to survive, and floral arrangements placed strategically along our roads, downtown streets and avenues to spruce up the general appearance. We have local artists providing eye-pleasing murals on business exteriors for the benefit of everyone.
Estevan may be a heavy industrial city with a lot of dirt and mud flying around, but it is also taking on the appearance of a big, bold and beautiful south Saskatchewan metropolis with local residents who obviously care about its appearance.