Mayor Tolmie’s State of the City Address January 12, 2017
Thank you for that introduction.
I would like to recognize MLA Lawrence, Councillor Froese and Councillor Mitchell.
The Chamber of Commerce plays an important role promoting the recognition of our citizens and groups who make a lasting impact in our community. Congratulations to all nominees who were considered for these awards. In the discussions I have had, the competition was extremely close this year and is a testament to the quality of nominees brought forward.
My personal congratulations to James Murdoch. I know and recognize your role in the hospital foundation. You represent a team of good people and they along with the city are lucky to have you in this role. I would also like to recognize and congratulate Hunger in Moose Jaw. Your hard work and dedication ensures that many of our least fortunate school children are provided a vital meal at school giving them a better chance at a better future. Before I continue I would like to mention a special thank you to each of you here for the volunteer work you do to make this community better.
We have so much to be proud of and thankful for in Moose Jaw. We need to celebrate our successes AND use the challenges of our past, to learn how we can work together to be even better in 2017.
A number of economic developments were launched in 2016. The City of Moose Jaw launched its industrial park initiative last year to help attract new industries to our community. And this strategy I can say will work! Last year Canadian Protein Innovation and the City of Moose Jaw entered into a conditional land sale to build a $100M processing plant that will create 100 skilled jobs. I have personally spoken with CPI and plans are being put in place so that the first phase of construction will start in June of this year.
In 2016, AgroCorp announced its head office move to Moose Jaw, creating another 35 jobs.
This sends a strong message to the entire industry about Moose Jaw’s competitive advantage and that we are now more than ever open for business.Moose Jaw wants to be a community that leads!
The City is showing that we are open to green innovation technologies. Moose Jaw has entered into a conditional offer with MackSun Solar to build Canada’s first urban 10 Mega Watt solar farm.
If successful in SaskPower’s bid process, the proponents hope to develop an Alternative Energy Resources training program, working in partnership with SaskPolytechnic’s Moose Jaw Campus and our First Nations communities. Civic Centre Plaza and Rona are other examples where Moose Jaw has proven that it’s “open for business”. Renovating the vacant Sobey’s store into the new RONA meant retaining at least 65 jobs in our community. This level of investment activity is attracting the attention of all kinds of other investors who are now taking a serious look at investing in Moose Jaw.
These kinds of relationships that result in positive developments take time – sometimes more than a year to establish. We want more! You can be rest assured that we are actively engaging and promoting the city of Moose Jaw to others to make that happen. In fact – just this morning, I was advised that the Ministry of Government Relations approved the boundary alteration of the City limits to facilitate the industrial park.
This has been in the works for more than a year and this is a testament to the strong working relationship we have with the RM of Moose Jaw.
We know what investors are looking for and are working to negotiate what’s best for our City and our residents. More jobs, more businesses, more places to shop and eat and work – we want to generate as much economic activity as we can during a time when many communities in our country are facing a downturn. We are continually looking for ways to attract new investors and companies to our city and ways to support local companies expanding. And we want to attract more skilled workers to move to our city to fill these new jobs created. We want our business sector – including Moose Jaw’s downtown district – to be as vibrant and as productive as they can be.
We will continue to strengthen our relationship with 15 Wing. As a local employer and a neighbour, we want to work together as much as we can on projects and events – that includes having the Snowbirds make appearances over our skies during special events like Rogers Hometown Hockey. Being featured on Rogers Hometown Hockey and showing the rest of Canada that despite -30 temperatures we can cheer louder and better than anyone showed the Moose Jaw spirit, the Saskatchewan spirit! I would like to say a special thank you to the organizing committee – Tourism Moose Jaw, Moose Jaw Minor Hockey, all local businesses who decorated their storefronts and ran special promotions for event-goers.
We will face difficult challenges head on! Our goal is to modernize City Hall – to improve the delivery of customer service to our residents. To operate more efficiently and to remain fiscally responsible.
To ensure that safe, reliable, sustainable services are provided to our residents. To attract more tourism, special events and commercial businesses to our City. And our main goal is to work together – Council setting a vision and Management authorized – to make these good things happen.
Phase 1 of the water main program wrapped up in 2016. City management has provided Council with a report and recommendations for phase 2, including funding options and we are working together to find the most fair and effective funding model for our residents and our City’s future.
We will find a funding model in the upcoming budget! Our new council is working with management to streamline the project, evaluating all aspects to ensure that this project – Moose Jaw’s largest infrastructure project in history – is done as efficiently and effectively as possible – with the safety and health of our citizens a top priority. We sincerely thank all citizens for their respectful, constructive feedback. The City is committed to being more open and communicating with citizens who will be impacted in upcoming phases.
Changes are never easy. This Council was elected to set a clear vision for the future of our city.
And we are well aware that difficult decisions are ahead of us in 2017. We are committed to working together to serve as a team and to make long-lasting impacts in our City – impacts that will benefit residents today and into the future. 2017 promises many good things are coming our way – special event announcements, new economic developments, community enhancements and programs. We are a community rich in culture, rich in innovation, entrepreneurship, volunteerism and hope – let’s continue to work together.
Let 2017 be Moose Jaw’s Year!