Saskatchewan is growing
They say a housing boom is a good indicator of how a city's economy is doing, but in Regina the housing market is also helping increase our economy.
That was the finding of a new Conference Board of Canada report issued on Tuesday. It says the city's economy is expected to improve by 3.7 per cent in 2012 thanks in part to our on-going housing surge.
Both the Conference Board and the Regina Home Builders Association agree that the city will likely see 2500 new housing units built in 2012. If that number seems high, that's because it is.
Habitat for Humanity is running out of habitat. There is simply no free land left for the non-profit group to build on.
For the last few years the organization has received donated inner city land in order to build homes for working but low-income families, with the added goal of helping to revitalize the area.
Executive Director Dennis Coutts explains unfortunately the cupboard is now bare.
"There's just simply no more lots left for donation, none that can be purchased cost-effectively," Coutts said.
Around 30 people waited outside Saskatoon's Good Food Junction Co-op for the first grocery store on 20th Street to open its doors today.
The Good Food Junction, which is part of the Station 20 West project, is situated near the Riversdale, King George and Pleasant Hill neighbourhoods.
"It would have been nice to be here 13 years ago, when the food desert was created," said Ralph Winterhalt, project manager of Station 20 West.
"But we are here today and the response has just been awesome."
The Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan has met its $20-million capital fundraising milestone -- a target, which the city set for the project before a tender could be released.
City council will now be asked, during Tuesday's session, to approve issuing a tender for the art gallery.
If given the nod of approval, bids for the "signature" $71-million River Landing art gallery, which includes a $13-million underground parkade, will be open on Sept. 25 and close by mid-November, said Saskatoon's city manager Murray Totland.
The Summer Snack Program has just wrapped up its 24th year of serving lunches to hundreds of Saskatoon kids and families in need.
"(The kids) are hungry when they come, they eat a lot. They look forward to it and they run to the cars and help us unload the food," said Kelly Harrington, president of the Saskatoon and District Labour Council (SDLC), which runs the program.
Harrington said the simple meal often includes fruits some of the children haven't ever tasted.
A group of Saskatoon business associations are working together to finance a study for a perimeter highway on the outskirts of the city.
"We felt that if we were to get the ball rolling, then various levels of government that would be overseeing this would be able to utilize the information," said Keith Moen with the North Saskatoon Business Association (NSBA).
The traffic patterns in Saskatoon have changed quite dramatically in recent years and congestion has become a problem, particularly in the north area on Circle Drive, Moen said.
Saskatchewan's economy makes it the place to be for expanding, starting and maintaining a business, but that isn't always easy for local businesses.
As more companies come in from out-of-province or out of the country, Saskatchewan business analyst Paul Martin said the push to buy local could fade away.
"The pressure seems to be the other way. The local buying preferences thing that we used to talk about, we don't anymore," he said.
Saskatchewan is in an export boom and will surpass B.C. in total exports for the first time by the end of the year if the trend continues.
“The world needs what Saskatchewan has,” said Lionel Labelle, with the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership.
“Clearly we have very, very big strengths in the agricultural industry, we have huge strengths in oil and gas. We have significant strengths in the potash industry, uranium, and our manufacturing sector, particularly in the sector of (agriculture) manufacturing is very, very strong.”
A proposed diamond mine in the Fort a la Corne region east of Prince Albert could receive government approvals within a few months, but the daunting task for Shore Gold remains securing financing to build the estimated $1.9 billion mine in a time of global economic uncertainty.
However, the Saskatoon-based company is applauding its latest achievement with the submission of its revised Environment Impact Statement (EIS) to the federal and provincial governments on Friday.
It continues to be a seller's market in Regina for home owners.
The average prices of houses selling with Regina's city limits was $313,917. That is an increase of nine per cent and also a new high. When the areas around Regina were included, that price lowers to $297,708.