southwest region, I think there are opportunities for all our communities to benefit. If Shaunavon or Swift Current’s booming, for example, we’re definitely going to benefit.”
Maple Creek is one of the oldest towns in Saskatchewan. Existing in relative isolation, Maple Creek does not have the extensive oil and gas economy of many of its southwest neighbours, nor the cropland to engage in wide-spread farming. However, Maple Creek’s close proximity to the Cypress Hills and the region’s abundant water supply has historically made it ideal for ranching, light industry and tourism.
When the BSE crisis hit, Maple Creek was forced to re- balance its local economic priorities pushing for even greater tourism opportunities. The tough economic times forced residents to become more entrepreneurial. The result was the establishment of new bed and breakfasts in the area, the opening of new first class restaurants, and the rise of new tourist attractions like the Cypress Hills Winery. Mayor Barry Rudd says all the credit for the town’s economic turnaround belongs to the can do attitude of it citizens.
“The confidence people have in the community is amazing,” says Rudd. “We believe if we build it, they will come. Over the last number of years our community has been very successful at lobbying to get things built, especially on the recreational side of things. For example, local people raised money for a lot
of years to build a new arena six years ago. That arena is now completely paid for and now we’ve got the new Southwest Integrated Health Care facility going in next year.”
According to Rudd, by embracing change, and getting the most out of its natural advantages of location, Maple Creek has found a path toward renewed prosperity and success.
“If you’re sustaining, and you’re not growing, then you’re really dying. You always have to have that steady growth. Southwest Saskatchewan is known province- wide for community driven initiatives, especially when it comes to supporting initiatives to better the place you live in. We know in Maple Creek we have to push ourselves to keep out of a box and make it a place where people want to move to.”
The City of Swift Current has always been the main service hub for southwest Saskatchewan. With the booming local economy all of the southwest region is prospering, but Swift Current is enjoying even greater benefits beyond the average— a youthful population, a rising professional class and a greater prominence provincially as Premier Brad Wall’s home riding.
But, says Mayor Jerrod Schafer, more important than all these things is the enhancement to the quality of life which comes with prosperity. To this end, the City has promoted cultural institutions in the community like
Maple Creek – Where Past is Present –
Nestled at the base of Cypress Hills, Maple Creek is full of rich heritage, fine dining, unique shopping, excellent festivals & events, and luxurious accommodations.
Come celebrate our
4th Annual Heritage Festival on July 19 Enjoy art, history, games, food, shopping, music and entertainment in Maple Creek's Heritage District!
Full event listings at www.oldcowtown.ca
or Visitor Centre 306-662-4005
the Lyric Theatre and Windscape Kite Festival. It has supported local sports franchises like the Swift Current Indians and Broncos. It has enhanced the local parks system. And it has sponsored the successful downtown weekly street market.
“People want a community that’s more than just providing the basic services— they want a quality of life,” explains Schafer. “You have to have employment for people to come to, but a huge factor in choosing where you want to live is the quality of life you can have.”
Schafer says beyond the obvious things like thinking regionally, creating a business-friendly atmosphere, attracting new investment and enhancing cultural opportunities, what’s important to sustain a community is a sense of optimism. People have to believe in their community.
“As a population I think we’re becoming more optimistic and we’re starting to see the opportunities. Instead of saying ‘we better not,’ we’re starting to say “why not?’”
Optimism and innovation, taking well-considered risks, adaptability, community drive and a regional awareness: It’s a potent recipe for success as southwest Saskatchewan embraces a new and prosperous millennium.
Relocate to the hub of the Southwest & build your dream home in
Located in the quiet southeast side of town
first 5 lots sold
For more information call the town office at 306-662-2244
For updates check our website under
Business & Investment www.maplecreek.ca
Rural Innovation 5
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