Two local municipal leaders painted a similar picture as they spoke to the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, at the President’s AGM, held via Zoom.
Mayor Marcel Roy of the City of Weyburn, and Reeve Norm McFadden of the RM of Weyburn, both spoke of projects and initiatives that either are in place or will soon be this coming year.
Taking these projects and ventures together, it would seem clear that the Weyburn area is doing fairly well in spite of the bad news that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the economy over the past year.
This is not to downplay the hurt that public health restrictions have caused in the local, provincial and national economy, as this has been an all-too-real problem that business owners and industries have had to deal with, and are continuing to deal with as long as these restrictions are in place.
There was irreparable harm done in the extreme lockdown of a year ago, as businesses were told to close their doors for over two months before some easing of restrictions came in. Now there are hints of more restrictions ongoing as schools are going to remote learning for at least two weeks after the Easter week break is done.
With this in mind, it was refreshing to hear of some good news in the midst of the hardships and problems caused by the reaction to the pandemic.
Some of the developments, both started and to come, are impressive, including an ongoing project here in the city. As most Weyburn area residents are aware, the new Legacy Park Elementary School and Credit Union Spark Centre are nearing completion of construction, and then the process of commissioning and installing of new equipment and amenities will take place to ready for the opening in September.
In the city’s area, there is the Weyburn Industrial Transload, which began taking in rail cars in December; a new solar power project is set to be developed this year on a property just west of the WIT development, and there is word of a possible micro-refinery just south of WIT.
A second solar power project, and a wind power project, are both being looked at in the area of Highway 39, and it will be interesting to see if these will come to reality.
A successful venture is the All Sports Training Centre in Evanston Park, which basically grew out of a need for a training facility in light of the COVID restrictions.
On the agriculture side, Viterra is going to expand on their grain terminal facility with a rail loop and upgrades.
All in all, while COVID still poses some real challenges for local businesses, there is some optimism in the air as these projects move forward, and that’s good news that this area needs right now.