The reaction continues to come in from around the community about the news Weyburn is one of the fastest-growing cities in the province.
The Weyburn census agglomeration area, which includes the City of Weyburn, North Weyburn, McTaggart and the R.M. of Weyburn, saw the population increase by 1.6 percent from 2016, according to the census numbers released by Statistics Canada. The news is something that many people in the community are excited about.
The economic boons to the growth of a community were front and centre for Weyburn City Councillor Jeff Richards.
“Our economy, even though it’s been bumpy over the last number of years, it’s remained relatively stable,” Richards explained. “Weyburn’s always been lucky to have a good white-collar base, a good agriculture base and the energy sector as well.”
The sentiment on the economy was shared by Larry Heggs, executive director of the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s pretty incredible with our industries that we have, and we’ve got some stable industries,” Heggs added.
While the economy is one factor, what else attracts people to a community?
I think that the message that it sends is that we’re probably doing some stuff right in Weyburn, and some of the investments we’ve made into our recreation facilities,” Richards pointed out. “For example, whether it’s the Spark Centre, we always talk about that, but let's not forget about the walking paths around the city, for example, or the folks who built the mountain bike trails up on Signal Hill.”
As the population continues to grow, not only in Weyburn but the surrounding communities, there are a number of benefits that people don’t necessarily take into account all the time. One of those is an increase in the taxation base.
“We're able to divide those costs throughout the community, throughout the RM, where ever those people are at, helping to reduce overall costs and, plus, it starts to build its own economy,” Heggs said. “Once you get to a certain level of people it’s going to have its own economy where you’re going to be able to support things on its own.”
Investment into the community is also key for Richards, as he noted the more investment into the community, the more people being employed, the more jobs being created and this comes back through more things like recreational and entertainment facilities.
One aspect of the growth of Weyburn is the decline in the size of Estevan. The two cities are intrinsically linked when it comes to the economy. While Weyburn saw a growth in population in the 2021 Census, Estevan had its population decline. As a result, for the first time since the 1981 Census, Weyburn has a larger population than their neighbours to the southeast.
Heggs explained that there are a number of critical issues facing Estevan right now, such as the push at various levels of government to move away from coal for power generation. With this happening, there is a shift away from Estevan being the centre of the southeast, to Weyburn.
As the City of Weyburn and the surrounding area continue to grow, Heggs added that growth is only possible if people are willing to tell the story of Weyburn.
“It truly is a great place to live, to work, to play,” Heggs said. “It’s a great place, I genuinely believe that, and I think the more people that spread that message, the stronger we will become.”