Swift Current aiming to attract investment and innovation from around the world

Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault helped unveil the city’s new Economic Development Platform during the Chamber on Tap event on April 25.

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 Current has something to offer global businesses.

The City of Swift Current unveiled their Economic Development platform during the Swift Current and District Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber on Tap event on April 25. Their promotional strategy is a proactive approach to show why the city is a good place to invest.

Non-renewable energy companies around the globe know of the vast wind and solar possibilities which exist in southern Saskatchewan and southern Alberta. In addition, the Southwest’s place in the petroleum and agriculture sectors is well documented.

“We, the City of Swift Current, have an unbelievably fortunate future given what’s under our ground, what’s being grown on our ground, and it’s up in the skies,” Mayor Denis Perrault said following last Wednesday’s unveiling.

The new website growwithswiftcurrent.ca, along with printed promotional tools were unveiled in order to help share this positive message of what opportunities are available in Swift Current and the Southwest.

Over the past number of months they have already fielded calls from businesses from as far a field as Germany and Singapore, so there is a heightened need to share the details of the Swift Current advantage.

“It is an exciting time. Well we simply have a great city, and we have a lot of amenities,” said Marty Salberg, Director of Community Development for the City of Swift Current. “A lot of people when they move to Swift Current they never move away. And that really is a testament to the type of businesses we have, the type of individuals and families, and the quality of life in terms of security, and everything else.”

Mayor Perrault noted that Swift Current is already on the map because of the solar and wind resources which exist in the region, and companies in the non-renewable industry are already familiar with the region.

“If these worldwide companies know where we are, we should be out inviting them to come here,” Mayor Perrault said. “We believe it’s going to be an absolute economic hub for the near future. We’re excited about that.”

The current initiative stems from a recent business retention and expansion survey which was conducted to determine how the business community was doing, and what the community needed to do better. One of the keys from this survey was a need to market the city better and to a wider audience.

“We determined we needed to embark on an economic development and marketing initiative that would showcase us to areas beyond our borders.”

Their new marketing efforts have focussed attention on renewable energy, natural resources and agri-business.

“We need to determine how we can set ourselves apart or differentiate from other cities, the industries to focus on and the best way to market our city and our area,” Perrault said.

“We have more than what most countries in this world would have…from the natural resources to the quality of life to the opportunities that are available.”

As part of the Chamber on Tap event, the City also unveiled their new 50 year plan which was completed by Crosby Hanna and Associates.

Mayor Perrault said this forward look was necessary as Council continues to plan for their goal of growing Swift Current’s population to 25,000 by 2025.

“In order for us to get to that point, we’ve got to be planning for the future in our infrastructure. We’ve also got to also be planning for new people. At two per cent growth a year from where we’re at today, to 50 years out, it would put our city at over 40,000. And I know many would think that’s ridiculous, but a 50 year time horizon is a very dramatic one,” he said.

Having the proper plan in place also helps ensure the community keeps their distinctive character despite the growth.

“As we grow and as we continue to grow and be inviting to people to come from literally around, I want us to still be a true community. I want us to be charitable. I want us to be safe. I want us to be caring. I want us to have a great and vibrant arts scene. I want us to have great sports teams. I want us to have all those pieces that all fit together while still having a small-town feel, in what literally is a growing city,” he added.

Leanne DeLong, Manager of Community Planning with Crosby Hanna and Associates, made a brief presentation on the long range plan.

“The new plan basically reflects the city’s commitment to growing its population as evidenced in the strategic plan.”

Swift Current’s existing development plan dates back to 2003 and had a 20 year scope.
Their strategy incorporates Swift Current’s projected population, plus the commercial and industrial land needs over the long term.

“In addition to that, the new plan addresses continued needs to provide for serviced residential, commercial, industrial and institutional land, while addressing restrains that the City has.”

“It ensures balanced growth between the north and south sectors of the city. It ensures that the city maintains a vibrant downtown core. And it also speaks to the continued protection of the city’s cultural and heritage resources, and ensures that growth pays for growth.”