Agriculture is the heartbeat of Saskatchewan’s economy, with the Land of the Living Skies exporting over $17 billion in agri-food products.
Now the province’s capital is looking to be ‘the hub’ for everything agriculture in the province.
Mayor Sandra Masters said agriculture has never played a bigger role in the City of Regina than it does now.
“I think the City of Regina, in terms of being the urban connection to rural growth and a center of commerce, has never felt for real,” she said. “Over a century ago, we were a place where folks came to trade, to move products, and we are getting back into that.”
Currently, many of the biggest agricultural companies in Canada and the world have offices in Regina, with a handful announcing major products, including the canola crushing plants.
“It feels like we are living up to a bit of our original promise in terms of being that centre of urban, rural agricultural connection,” she said.
With more agriculture development happening, that means more people will be looking to call the Queen City home.
With the city already seeing a shortage of housing, Masters said the City has work to do to make sure they have enough infrastructure in place to support the new arrivals.
“We are pretty cognisant of the fact that if we are inviting 3,000 construction jobs in the city, we need space for them to live,” she said. “We don’t want to get caught like we did during the previous boom during 2011 and 2012, where it drove up rental prices.”
As for if the City could handle another boom, Masters believes they have a reasonable amount of infrastructure already in place to support those looking to move to Regina.
“We do have holmes for rent. Part of the issue around that is where those places for rent are, aren’t necessarily desirable. It’s also the work plan to address some of those underlining issues to make sure that housing is accessible. We’ve got some significant affordable houses for sale but making sure we’ve got new areas under development as well too so that housing option is available for folks.”
As for future growth, Masters said events like Agribition and Canada’s Farm Show are extremely important in showing what the province and the City have to offer.
“It actually is that gathering of folks from across the country and around the world that really helps sell us in terms of the place to be to have the business done but also to actually learn what other folks are up to, what we are up to, the cutting edge things that come out of the province and being a place where we are helpful.”