Friday, 21 December 2012 16:07

New website launched to attract newcomers to Swift Current

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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John Statton of the City of Swift Current makes the presentation. John Statton of the City of Swift Current makes the presentation.

A new website to help attract newcomers to Swift Current was officially launched on Dec. 19.


The City of Swift Current developed the website with funding assistance from the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy.
John Statton, the City's communications and grant coordinator, said the website will provide newcomers with information about all aspects of life in the community.
“It's for all newcomers to Swift Current, from out of the province, out of the country, out of the city, just wherever they're coming from,” he mentioned. “They'll find useful information on the city of Swift Current, things to do, information about Swift Current and get a feel for the City before moving here, even just visiting.”
The website has a mobile version for use on smartphones, which is helpful to someone looking for information in a quick and easy format. Statton said the City is also in the process of redeveloping its main website.
“It's a larger process and this was funding that came available, so we jumped on it,” he explained. “Eventually this will be integrated into our main website.”
They City used the $30,000 in provincial funding to hire a development firm to create the website and then contracted immigration consultant Anika Henderson to do the content development.
“We're trying to basically say that immigrants are welcome here,” Henderson said. “We're inviting them, we're very appreciative of the contributions that newcomers have already made to this community and we want to show them the opportunities that exist in Swift Current.”
The website includes a number of stories about the experiences of recent newcomers to Swift Current. Ruby Urriza's family is featured in one of those stories and she attended the website launch. She and husband Alexander have been living in the city with their teenage children Allendry and Alexeah since 2008.
“It's a very nice place to raise children and the people are still peaceful,” she said.
They came from the Philippines and applied to come to Canada under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP).
“This province is open for new immigrants,” she said.
According to Henderson the SINP has been very successful in attracting immigrants to the province and to Swift Current.
“There are certain opportunities that exist for students and for hospitality industry workers to eventually become permanent residents and that opportunity doesn't exist in every province,” she said.
There have been different trends that attracted people to Swift Current over the past six year. Henderson said most people were attracted by manufacturing jobs between 2006 and 2008, when local manufacturers had a hard time filling positions and they started looking abroad. Then the service and hospitality industries became the main drivers for newcomers. The next phase happened as people settled here and they started to bring their family members to the city.
“So its always evolving and always changing,” she said. “There's tons of job opportunities here, the quality of life is good and Swift Current is a great place to raise a family. ... There's just a lot of great things about this community that people are starting to recognize.”
Henderson has also noticed a number of people arriving from Alberta. That province has attracted temporary foreign workers but they do not necessarily have an opportunity to transition to become permanent residents.
“There are some more opportunities here in Saskatchewan to do that,” she said. “So I guess it's a neighbouring province, it's really close and maybe somebody that's working there may know somebody here in Saskatchewan.”
The Philippines has been the main source of immigrants to Swift Current in recent years. There are also people from Spanish speaking countries such as Columbia and Mexico and a smattering of newcomers from places as varied as Mongolia and Latvia.
“Right now we're seeing a lot of people from India coming into Swift Current,” she said. “We've always had quite a strong South Asian community here but just in the last year we've seen a lot of people coming in and a lot of young people coming, so that's kind of exciting.”
Icasiana de Gala, the executive director of the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre in Swift Current, was also at the website launch.
“I think it's a good idea because that will give newcomers more information about the city,” she said about the new website.
The Newcomer Welcome Centre launched their own website in October, but according to De Gala it is covering the entire southwest Saskatchewan and therefore does not contain as much information about the city.
She said Swift Current's size makes it an attractive place for people, whether they are coming from elsewhere in Canada or from abroad. The city has all the necessary amenities but it is not too big.
“I always hear from people this is a nice place to raise children because of the size and you practically know everyone, so I think that's an attraction,” she mentioned.
To view the new Swift Current website, go to http://citysc.ca/

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