Wednesday, 19 December 2012 15:24

Positive economic outlook for Swift Current

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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The local economy in Swift Current has experienced a strong year with a record number of building permits issued and ongoing interest in industrial lots.

Until the end of November, the City of Swift Current has issued building permits valued at $82.3 million, which is 16 per cent higher than the previous record of $71 million in 2007.
The City’s Director of Business Development Marty Salberg highlighted these numbers at the Dec. 10 council meeting as he provided an update on economic development in Swift Current.
“We’ve had a lot of good years in a row actually,” he said. “We still have December numbers to come in, so it’s been a very good year on all fronts.”
The current construction of two new schools as part of a $51 million joint-use education facility represents a significant portion of this year’s building permit values.
The construction of a $9 million, 72-unit personal care home by Golden Health Care near the regional hospital is also under way.
The previous record year also included a number of major building developments, such as the Living Sky Casino and a Canadian Tire store.
It helped to boost the total value of the building permits issued during 2007. The City has already tied another record for the number of residential building permits issued during a year and Salberg expected that the final numbers for this year will be higher.
So far, the City has issued 51 single family residential building permits this year at an average value of $360,000 per unit. During the past 15 years the City has issued an average of 27.5 building permits each year.
The number of residential lot sales have been higher than average, with 55 lots sold until the end of November. Only two high-end lots were still available on Kelburn Bay in the Highland subdivision. The City’s engineering department is currently undertaking a planning process for the development of three major growth areas within City boundaries to accommodate future expansion.
“There’s obviously a need to keep planning on how we’re going to grow Swift Current,” Salberg said.
“We believe that over time we are going to continue to see this growth fill in our areas, so we’re developing.”
In addition to the construction of various industrial shops throughout the city, a number of businesses have purchased land in Munro Industrial Park. This will create momentum for more development in that area.
“A lot of times, these developments do take a long time to come to fruition and it’s nice to see that actually happening,” he said. “In 2013, we’re going to see the construction take place of some of the businesses that have purchased lots and with that again we’ll see some more interest.”
He also referred to investments in commercial buildings around the city as well as significant commercial additions and renovations.
“You can look in the malls, you can look downtown, you can see the new looks of a lot of the buildings,” he mentioned.
According to Salberg, the City is working hard to promote Swift Current as an attractive investment option for commercial and industrial activities. An important selling point is the city's well-rounded economy with activities that covers the manufacturing, oil and gas, agriculture, service and retail sectors.
“So it’s pretty easy to market Swift Current,” he said. “We’re seeing some of the fruits of our initiatives.”
He is confident the current development activities in the city will provide a solid foundation for another good year in 2013.
“We’re going to see a lot more building permits next year, which again is going to set the foundation for the following year,” he said. “So I think things are progressing very favourably and it’s an exciting place to be.”

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