Sunday April 20, 2014

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

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Weyburn making steady progress

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Weyburn is outpacing Estevan in terms of growth, Jeff Richards with the Southeast Regional Economic Development Authority (SEREDA) told council December 9 at their regular meeting.

This is the information sought out by new businesses looking to expand into the community.

SEREDA is the place where businesses can have their questions answered in regards to moving their business into the area or expanding their business. SEREDA measures and quantifies growth of and promotes the region through trade shows.

"We're hearing concerns about being a one-trick pony, and we don't think we are," said Richards.

Two-thirds of Weyburn businesses are members of the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce, and 16 per cent of that is retail. There were 358 business licences issued in 2013 so far, which was a 6.5 per cent increase over last year.

In Weyburn, $260 million was spent in the retail sector and there is a focused prediction of a 50 per cent increase over the next eight to 10 years, said Richards.

Weyburn is also third in household incomes behind Lloydminster and Estevan. Weyburn has a low cost of living with the average monthly rent of $842.

SEREDA met with 30 businesses and six developers over the past year and having a district planning commission is a "big deal," said Richards.

There are some issues in the area that need to be addressed such as doctor recruitment.

"Doctor recruitment is a concern because businesses are saying we can't get staff because they can't find a doctor," said Richards. "We need to fix that problem to the best of our ability."

Through marketing, SEREDA continues to promote the city to prospective businesses.

The Weyburn Planning District was officially formed in 2012, and planning consultant Tim Cheesman made a presentation regarding the initiative to council.

The three major focus areas in the planning initiative are building relationships, land use planning needs and infrastructure capacity.

"The paramount activity of the consultant team was to assist the RM of Weyburn and the City of Weyburn in building their relationship," said Cheesman.

Mayor Debra Button said it's been three years of hard work to get the RM of Weyburn and the City of Weyburn to where they are today.


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