Year in Review 2018 - City gathers feedback for Recreation Master Plan
Chinook School Division bracing for continued impact of budget cuts
The ripple effect of a $6.5 million budget reduction for the Chinook School Division from 2017-2018 will continue to be felt during the coming years.
Chinook School Division Director of Education Kyle Mcintyre said they have some additional belt tightening to make in the coming two years despite making a $6 million reduction in expenditures this past school year.
Mcintyre was speaking at Monday’s Board-school Community Council Spring Forum, where he confirmed they have a two year plan to address their changed staffing formula which is occurring because of budgetary constraints.
Study shows water quality and watershed health similar to a decade ago
A decade comparison of the water quality and health of the Swift Current Creek basin shows there has been relatively little change over the past 10 years.
This past Thursday, the Swift Current Creek Watershed Stewards announced the preliminary results of their 2017 Swift Current Creek Water Monitoring Report. They undertook the study to determine if there were many changes since their last monitoring project completed in 2007.
“The general quality index, really everything is in about the same range. So we do not see overall a great amount of difference in the water quality from 2007 to 2017,” explained Kevin Steinley, Executive Director of the Swift Current Creek Watershed Stewards. “It’s mostly TDS (total dissolved solid) levels that’s causing some difference.” MARCH 22
Feedback needed to develop Recreation, Parks and Culture Master Plan
Additional community feedback is being sought in order to provide the direction of a Recreation, Parks and Culture Master
Plan for the City of Swift Current.
An on-line survey will be conducted until April 11 to gather additional data to guide services and investments in Recreation, Parks and Culture over the next decade.
A draft version of the Recreation, Parks and Culture Master Plan is scheduled to be completed by December 2018. The findings from that preliminary report would be presented to the community one final time before the completion of an official master plan document in early 2019.
Donations needed to fix water damage at Wallace Stegner House in Eastend
A fundraising initiative is underway to help pay for the extensive damage caused by a frozen water line at the Wallace Stegner House in Eastend.
Back on March 2, there was a significant water leak at the historic house which serves as a year round residence for artists of all disciplines. The house is owned and operated by the Eastend Arts Council, and they now need to raise funds in order to pay for repairs not covered by insurance.
Healthcare Foundation celebrates purchase of key equipment
The efforts of two high profile campaigns by the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation in 2017 have resulted in a pair of impactful contributions at the Cypress Regional Hospital.
The Foundation showcased their new purchases and the vast improvements the beneficial equipment is having on patient care. In the Emergency Department, physicians are using a new portable Ultrasound unit, while the maternity ward is benefiting from the purchase of three new birthing beds and a pair of Panda Warmers.
Large turnout for emotional Dorie’s House Rally
An emotional outpouring of support was given to Dorie’s House during a community rally on March 28, just days after the Southwest Youth Emergency Shelter was denied funding in the upcoming provincial budget.
Tom Westbury, who oversaw the construction of Dorie’s House, which was named in honour of his mother, organized the rally. He is hoping providing a loud voice behind the rejected funding will help change the mind of government.
Dorie’s House provided housing support for teens between the ages of 14 and 18 at their eight bed facility from January 15 to October of 2017.
Humboldt tragedy sends shock waves throughout the hockey community
Sports, politics and the weather were all secondary topics to the waves of emotions which swept across Saskatchewan in the wake of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy on April 6.
The Humboldt Broncos team bus collided with a semi trailer while travelling to a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game in Nipawin on April 6, and the lives of 15 individuals were lost during the unfathomable tragedy.
Simpson named 2018 Frontier Days Ambassador
Adrianna Simpson from the Kyle district has been named as the 2018 Frontier Days Ambassador.
Simpson will be formally crowned ambassador during the upcoming Discover the Farm: A Farm Facts Experience event on April 28. She will take over from 20178 ambassador Hazlet’s Brooklynn Becker.
Budget did not address impact of previous Chinook School Division funding cuts
The Chinook School Division will continue to proceed with staff reductions after the April 10 provincial budget did not address funding shortfalls which have occurred in Chinook over the past few budgets.
The provincial government announced a 1.6 per cent increase in funding province wide for Prek-12 education in their 2018-2019 budget. The budgeted amount included a promised restoration of $30 million in educational funding, but that total falls short of the $54 million cut as part of austerity measures in the 2017- 2018 budget.
For the Chinook School Division, the impact of this year’s budget is approximately $275,000 less than the previous year, and the $75.2 million in grant fund- ing does not address the $6.5 million budget reduction Chinook experienced at the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
Earlier, in response to budgetary constraints the division announced they are embarking on a two year board approved strategy to reducing the teaching staff in Chinook. This amended staffing formula has been approved that increases the optimal class size in every classroom.
Southwest well represented in tourism winners circle
A pair of Southwest businesses walked away with Saskatchewan Tourism Awards of Excellence for 2017.
Ghostown Blues Bed & Breakfast in Maple Creek claimed the Service Excellence Award, while the Business of the Year Award (under 20 full-time employees) went to the Historic Reesor Ranch.
Pioneer Co-op posts another year of record sales
Pioneer Co-op celebrated another year of record sales and continued strong financial returns to members as a result of a successful 2017.
The positive financial picture was a highlight of Pioneer Co-op’s 81st annual general meeting on April 18, where the membership learned of over $290 million in sales and a $12.6 million equity allocation coming to members this June. The Southwest based Pioneer Co-op has grown over the years into one of Saskatchewan’s largest retail Co-ops.
Ability Bowl sets record
An expanded number of fundraising events helped Ability Bowl 31 set an impressive new record total.
While the majority of the funds were raised during Saturday’s showcase fun fund- raiser at the Frontier Bowling Lanes, the additional events helped Ability Bowl 2018 raise $105,102.
Great West Auto Electric celebrates grand opening
Great West Auto Electric Ltd., a downtown Swift Cur- rent fixture for almost seven decades, celebrated the grand opening of their new location on April 21.
The large grand opening and customer celebration for Great West Auto Electric Ltd. - Bumper to Bumper was celebrated this past Saturday, just over a year since construction started on the building back on April 3, 2017.
Swift Current aiming to attract investment from around the world
The City of Swift Current is reaching out around the globe to share a long list of benefits which they believe makes Swift Current an ideal place to invest and live.
Thanks to the emerging renewable energy sector, and other established strengths, city officials are hoping to get the word out that Swift Cur- rent has something to offer global businesses.
The City of Swift Current un- veiled their Economic Development platform during the Swift Current and District Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber on Tap event on April 25.
Delegation takes a close look at Swift Current’s Games venues
Even with 14 months to go before the opening cere- monies, close attention is being paid to the facilities and venues Swift Current will utilize to host the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games.
Two days of meetings and venue tours were hosted on May 23 and 24 as visiting provincial and territorial delegations had their first opportunity to learn about the plans already in place as Swift Current gears up to host the Games on August 9 to 18. Approximately 1,700 athletes from host Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut will compete in 16 sports during the 10-day multi sport competition.
Saturn Power building 10 megawatt solar power project in Southwest
The RM of Coulee will be the home for a 10 mega- watt utility-scale solar power project to be built by Saturn Power.
In a press announcement on Tuesday, Saturn Power announced they have signed a 20 year power purchase agreement with Saskpower for power production from what will be known as the Highfield Solar Project. Electricity from the site is anticipated to be on line as early as the end of 2019.
211 directs people to supports when they need them most
Southwest Saskatchewan residents now have a new way to reach out and find the supports they need.
The official expansion of the 211 service across Saskatchewan which was announced on Monday is intended to help remove the barriers to finding an connecting with resources and agencies. These supports range from basic needs such as food, shelter and employment, along with mental health, addictions, violence and abuse, crisis and healthcare.
Premier Moe hoping to spark equalization discussion
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is proposing changes to the federal equalization payment strategy in hopes of a more equitable distribution of funds across Canada.
Moe discussed the new equalization idea in Swift Current on June 22 when he was the guest speaker at a luncheon hosted by the Swift Current and District Chamber of Commerce.
“It is time for us to have this discussion understanding that that federal government has until April 2019 to make a decision regarding any changes or updates that may come to the equalization formula,” Moe said
Shaunavon Fire Hall renamed Gordon Speirs Fire Hall
Long-serving Shaunavon Fire Department member Gordon Speirs was honoured to participate in a renaming of the Shaunavon Fire Hall to the Gordon Speirs Fire Hall on July 21.
As one of the highlight events of Boomtown Days 2018, an official naming ceremony was held on Saturday to officially rename the facility the Gordon Speirs Fire Hall.
Speirs joined the Shaunavon Volunteer Fire Department in 1945, and went on to serve as Fire Chief from 1949 to 1991.
Stock Growers launch grass bank pilot project at Grasslands
The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association and Parks Canada - Grasslands National Park are teaming to partner on a unique habitat preserving grass bank pilot project.
The project, announced at last month’s Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association AGM in Swift Current, will utilize grazing management practices to help preserve habitat for species at risk including the Greater Sage-grouse, Sprague’s Pipit, and Chestnut-collared Longspur.
Ribfest makes a successful weekend debut in Swift Current
Swift Current’s first ever Ribfest served up a tasty feast of award-winning BBQ delectables during the August long weekend.
The three day Ribfest at the Living Sky Casino boasted delicious food, a popular line-up of musical entertainment, along with a kid zone which provided a family fun atmosphere at the event.
Southwest sizzles in all time record heat
Southern Saskatchewan endured a pair of the hot- test days on record during a scorching August heat-wave.
The temperature rose above the 40 Celsius mark on both Friday and Saturday, making the region warmer than many locations in the southern United States. Val Marie rose to an all time record high of 40.9 Celsius on Saturday to edge past the previous mark of 40.6 recorded back in both August 1949 and July 1960. It now stands up as the hottest ever temperature recorded in the community among records dating back to 1939.
Swift Current suffered through back-toback record heat on Friday and Saturday. After reaching an all time August record high of 40.0 Celsius on Friday, it got even hotter on Saturday when the mercury climbed to 40.1 Celsius. These were the hottest August days among records which started in 1885.
Lyle Stewart stepping away from Agriculture Minister duties
Lumsden-morse MLA Lyle Stewart is stepping down from his duties as Saskatchewan’s Minister of Agriculture to focus on his battle with cancer.
Stewart will continue in his duties as Mla,but will relinquish his responsibilities for his cabinet position in order to focus on his health.
“I was recently diagnosed with colorectal cancer and will be undergoing several months of pretty aggressive treatment,” Stewart said in a press statement.
Tributes pour in for Huyghebaert
A Celebration of Life service was held August 13 in memory of former Wood River MLA Yogi Huyghebaert.
He passed away on August 2 at the age of 74, and a private family interment was held at Mount View Cemetery in Fir Mountain.
He was an instrumental figure during the early years of the Saskatchewan Party. Huyghebaert, who was born in Lafleche on May 27, 1944, was one of three candidates during the inaugural leadership campaign for the fledgling Saskatchewan Party in 1998. He won a June 2000 by-election in Wood River to earn his first seat in the legislature, and he was re- elected in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
Test events provide valuable lessons for Games organizers
The conclusion of a trio of test events in preparation for the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games has provided Games organizers with some valuable information on how to better prepare for the 16 sport competition in August of next year.
This past weekend a two-day cycling competition was hosted by the Swift Current Cycle Club, including a Time Trial road race in Wymark, a criterium race in Swift Current, plus a Road Race from Hazlet along Highway #332. It was the third pre-competition test event following an Open Water Swim on July 15 and Triathlon on August 12.
Bylaw amendment will require cannabis retail locations to have more input before approval
The City of Swift Current will be utilizing discretionary use provisions to regulate the location of retail cannabis locations in Swift Current’s newly zoned Central Downtown District.
As their September 10 City Council meeting, council gave notice of motion to make amendments to their downtown zoning in order to add discretionary use provisions before finalizing a location of a retail cannabis business. Council also proposed amendments to allow cannabis production operations as land uses in industrial districts.
Living Sky Casino reflects back on impactful first decade
The Living Sky Casino celebrated a look back at an impactful first decade while kicked off a five month long 10th anniversary celebration surrounding their December 29, 2008 opening.
A 10th anniversary Kick-off Gala was hosted on September 28 to both celebrate their achievements over the past 10 years, in addition to an announcement of a series of celebration events over the coming weeks and months.
Rain and snow halts late harvest operations in Southwest
Back to back damp weeks have slowed late harvest progress across the Southwest, with producers now having just 12 per cent of the crop to harvest.
According to the Saskatchewan Agriculture Crop Report for the period of September 18 to 24, producers now have 88 per cent of crops in the bin, up just two per cent from the previous week, and only six per cent up from the report two weeks ago.
NDP raise concerns over lack of local workers at Chinook Power Station project
The Saskatchewan NDP are concerned that Saskatchewan’s skilled trades are being left out of crown construction projects across the province by a flawed government procurement process.
After walking through a worker parking lot filled by mostly out of province and out of country licence plates, NDP leader Ryan Meili raised a concern about the lack of skilled labour from Saskatchewan being utilized at the Chinook Power Station construction site.
Meili added that Saskpower, a crown corporation building a project with Saskatchewan pub- lic dollars, should have looked closer at local skilled labour.
20th anniversary SCBEX Awards recognizes Swift Current’s best
Ten winners were saluted during the 20th anniversary edition of the Spirit of Swift Current Swift Current Business Excellence Awards.
The annual Swift Current and District Chamber of Commerce awards were handed out on Saturday night to honour the entrepreneurial spirit and impact of Swift Current’s diverse business scene. Winners were:
Start-up/new Business - Olea Oil & Vinegar Tasting Room.
Small Business - The Sputtergotch Toy Company.
Medium Business - Great West Auto Electric/bumper to Bumper.
Large Business - Ag Growth International.
Not For Profit - Swift Current Ag & Ex. Employer of Person(s) with Disabilities - Giant Tiger.
Home Based Business - JAG Landscaping & Yard Maintenance.
Citizen of the Year - Larry Johnson.
Cabri and region celebrates efforts which secured Primary Health Care arrival
The refusal of the residents of Cabri and region to let healthcare services leave their communities was rewarded on November 16 when there was a grand re-opening of Cabri Medical Clinic.
The province has approved annual funding of approximately $145,000 for a full-time nurse practitioner along with other services which will allow the Capri Medical Clinic to operate with a primary health care team.
Even though the winds did not fully cooperate at the 14th annual Saskpower Windscape Kite Festival, there were still a variety of fun activities to keep kids of all ages entertained during the two day event on June 23 and 24.
A total of approximately 140 people braved the cool temperatures and took on the Fun Muddy Mayhem course in late September in support of the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation. A challenging course, built by Wallace Construction and Winmar Property Restoration Services, featured 20 obstacles for teams to tackle during the two day event. A total of $7,000 was raised in support of the purchase of a portable x-ray machine for the Cypress Regional Hospital