Business community questions RM of Edenwold’s industrial development plans

Jennifer Taylor, a senior planner with Regina firm Associated Engineering addressed the White City Emerald Park Business Association at its monthly meeting Nov. 10 regarding the Emerald Park Sector Plan.

The sector plan was an initiative brought forward by the RM of Edenwold in July 2021. The project is intended to map out the land use, integration, infrastructure, utilities and transportation needed in the lesser and undeveloped areas south of Highway 1 and east of Range Road 2185. Associated Engineering was hired by the RM to prepare the sector plan and offer guidance on the development of the area.

A public survey on the matter closed Oct. 24, and last week the business association was asked for further feedback on the requirements, concerns and improvements that they saw to be necessary for this plan.

Craig Slobodian of RedHead Equipment brought forth the issue of a reliable power supply, a concern that was reflected by several other association members as well.

“Power is a real big problem,” he said. “All the outages and power surges, they cause huge issues in our business and I know other people’s as well. We have had to consider getting a backup power source ourselves just to try and deal with this. You can’t develop this area any more until that is fixed.”

Members voiced concern that more development in the area would only strain the power grid more, causing greater issues to the businesses already operating in the area.

RM of Edenwold chief operating officer Sameh Nashed addressed this concern by stating “we have been in talks with SaskPower and intend to use our contacts within the company to get this fixed. We know it is a big issue and it is one of our top priorities.”

Other members noted issues with street lighting, limited business visibility, that several businesses are not connected to the municipal sewer lines, and that some roadways either do not have an address or have multiple addresses due to roadways changing names, making even basic deliveries difficult. Another request members shared was the need for a more efficient roadway system connecting the industrial area to residential zones.

Of greatest interest to the association was that the infrastructure intended for the sector plan reflected the types of businesses that the community wants to attract.

Ryan Bast, a programs services manager with the Motor Safety Association of Saskatchewan, noted the need for auto repair and tire dealers in the area. Multiple association members also mentioned transportation related businesses, like trucking companies, dealerships and service/parts centers as the type of businesses that should be considered when determining the infrastructure in the development area.

Dwayne Walbaum, president of the All-Rite Group Of Companies, stated that there are several multi-national companies expressing intentions to expand into the area.

“These companies are looking for the infrastructure to be in place: land, power and water,” he said. “The other thing they really need is people to take these businesses on.”

Taylor commended the association on their involvement, explaining that this was an important part in the plan’s third stage of development, which is stakeholder engagement. The sector plan is expected to be complete in March 2022.

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