City of Melfort

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Situated in Central Saskatchewan, the City of Melfort is a growing community that is historically known for its agricultural industry. In recent years, the city has realized exceptional growth on several business fronts, particularly commercial investment.

The result is an increasing number of new residents moving to Melfort, with record high value new building permits in 2013, with 51 new home permits issued already in the first half of the year. Industry and new developments have responded to the growing residential population, with Melfort becoming a destination for regional medical, financial, and professional services, as well as the retail sector.

The new StoneGate shopping centre, covering more than 30 acres, provides the community with retail opportunities to several major national chains, including anchor tenant Canadian Tire, as well as Mark’s Work Wearhouse, Tim Hortons, Boston Pizza, and Sobeys. The site continues to attract a range of national retailers and complement a range of existing private businesses, as it brings new traffic and consumers to the community.

“The proof is in the pudding, in that the existing businesses here are thriving, they are growing and expanding, and we are consistently seeing new retailers and new businesses looking at our community and recognizing the opportunity within the region that our community offers,” Brent Lutz, Community Development Manager with the City of Melfort, told The Canadian Business Journal. “We have seen quite a bit of growth in the community since 2006 when Saskatchewan started to draw a lot of attention. That year, our population was just under 5,200 people and in the last census we saw almost a 10 per cent increase. The latest numbers peg our population at just under 6,400 people. Quality of life is driving growth.”

Residential Attraction

As a regional service centre, the many amenities found in Melfort are uncommon for a community of its more intimate size. The range of amenities found in Melfort features major civic facilities, including the Northern Lights Palace, home to an 1,800-seat hockey arena as well as an indoor wave pool and waterslide. The Melfort Mustangs of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League play out of the Northern Lights Palace and provide an exciting entertainment option for community sports fans.
The Kerry Vickar Centre, a multi-use performance arts and convention centre, is a major draw within the community. Opened in 2010, the Kerry Vickar Centre draws visitors from outside the community, many of whom then choose to relocate to the city.

Melfort also offers a range of outdoor recreational activities, including golf, tennis, ball diamonds, and walking trails., Easy access to four different nearby regional parks provide opportunities for boating, fishing, camping, and downhill skiing. Future recreation facilities may include soccer pitches and a new secondary ice surface.
“People are coming to Melfort simply because we have more amenities to offer than many other communities,” added Rick Lang, Mayor of the City of Melfort. “Growth has been very prevalent in the city. Our building permits reflect the equivalent of about five years of previous growth (prior to 2007) and now we are doing this on an annual basis.”

Business Climate

The City of Melfort is open for business and encourages the entrepreneurial lifestyle. The city offers many different programs and incentives which have attracted many new families to the community. More and more, when choosing a place to live, access to familiar services is a major priority for many residents. As such, the City of Melfort has planned its future by recognizing that with growing population comes growing demand. From a regional perspective, Melfort is also well situated to serve the surrounding trading area, which extends as far east as the Manitoba border and offers access to a greater population and market.
As the national economy has rebounded, the view of Saskatchewan as a whole is of an economic boom province, a title previously held by neighbouring Alberta. The strength of the agricultural sector and resource-based economy has seen many former residents return to the province, given its vast availability of work opportunities. Today, Melfort is a go-to community.

“For people that have lived here for many years, it is nice to see many of our children staying in the province for work where there is a lot of opportunity,” Lutz commented. “We have seen quite a bit of repatriation back to our community of people that had moved away but appreciated the quality of life that was available. Now there are opportunities available to them here.”

Notably, with growth come challenges, and Mayor Lang noted the community faces some difficulties in terms of infrastructure, like much of Canada as a whole, to support this growth. “We have an issue of aging infrastructure and it is difficult to address simply from the revenue generated from the tax base, so we need co-operation from the other two levels of government. When you are in a growth phase, like we are right now, you have the added pressure of putting new infrastructure in the ground to support growth, so that is definitely a challenge.”

Despite these challenges, the City of Melfort continues to recognize trends in building permit values and population growth, and the benefits that come with a growing community. In a way, the City of Melfort is the best of both worlds, as it offers residents all the amenities and activities of a large urban centre, all presented in a safe and family-oriented community.

As Mayor Lang concluded, “We are always looking to enhance quality of life in this community as that is our major driving force for people locating in this community.”

www.cityofmelfort.ca

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