The City of Yorkton: where good things happen

By Jillian Mitchell

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Each working day, Dale Hintz makes the trek from Yorkton to Mosaic’s Esterhazy mine site. It’s a luxury that he, undeniably, would not trade for the world.

“I really enjoy the commute,” says Hintz of the hour-long drive to work. “You get those sunrises and it’s very relaxing; you can get yourself mentally prepared for work. And just that time to wind down after work, it’s great.”

The Mosaic Co. superintendent and coordinator is a lover of Big Sky Country—a nickname for the prairie province, stemming from its broad horizons and seemingly bigger and more vibrant skies. It is the reason he has committed his 51 years to the province. But R&R in nature is not the only reason Hintz prefers to make a home for his family in Yorkton; it’s the hustle and bustle of a bigger city that has him energized—and he’s not the only one.

An estimated 85-plus employees make the daily trek from Yorkton to the Esterhazy mines during the working week. According to Hintz, the economic hub of the east central Saskatchewan region is perfect for young professionals eager to tap into Yorkton’s burgeoning economy.

“What my wife and I really enjoyed about Yorkton was that there were a lot of opportunities for our kids to do just about anything,” says Hintz, who relocated to Yorkton from the small town of Churchbridge, Sask., 25 years prior. “As well, my wife runs a business in Yorkton, and I’m heavily involved in the community. It is home. It’s a very friendly city and I’ve really enjoyed it over the years.”

Dale Hintz

Dale Hintz

As the superintendent says, Yorkton has “really taken off.” The city has witnessed major growth in the last few years, from housing and educational facilities to health services and commercial developments, and there is no sign of slowing down.

Faisal Anwar, City of Yorkton economic development officer, confirms that the social and economical needs of the community come first and foremost on the city’s priority list. As Anwar says, Yorkton is a vibrant city “where good things happen.”

“Yorkton is the regional economic hub of east central Saskatchewan, with the third largest trading area (150,000-plus) in the province, and has been experiencing a rapid population growth since 2007,” he says. “With such rapid growth underway, Yorkton has implemented a comprehensive Community Housing Plan to ensure the city’s residential growth coincides with its economic and social needs. In 2012, three new hotels, 66,000 square feet of commercial retail space, two condominium buildings, as well as residential and industrial buildings, were under construction, an indication of the fast-paced growth of the city.”

As a result of the housing influx, the city council, through the Yorkton Housing Committee, has worked to develop a collaborative open-door method to work with builders, developers, community organizations, not-for-profit agencies, businesses and the various levels of government, to achieve the goals of the housing plan, continues Anwar. City council also encourages business development through the Economic Development Committee, which is reminiscent in the $80 million invested in Yorkton in 2012.

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The recent growth has also impacted the provision of health, education, recreation, and city services. As Anwar explains, the city’s hospital, which serves as a regional health centre for east central Saskatchewan and some areas of western Manitoba, has planned an upgrade to provide more and better health services to this region. In addition, due to current and future economic growth, Parkland College in Yorkton is planning a new Trades & Technology Centre. The City of Yorkton has donated 20 acres of land to Parkland College to be used as the future location of this facility.

Additionally, the Yorkton Municipal Airport is a general aviation facility, serving both private and commercial helicopter and fixed wing aircraft, and is operational 24 hours per day. Over the last few years, Yorkton has seen a remarkable and steady increase in aircraft movements, compared to other smaller cities in Saskatchewan.

“Saskatchewan has 50 per cent of the world’s potash, the next largest is Russia with 22 per cent. Yorkton is in the middle of the largest and richest potash field in east central Saskatchewan—the majority of the projects are within 120 kilometres of the city,” says Anwar. “Evidently, Yorkton is the first choice for the miners, migrant workforce, businesses, and developers. We anticipate more immigrants to come to Yorkton because of these opportunities over the next five years.”

The development of the mining industry around Yorkton, without a doubt, brings investment in housing, commercial and industrial development, and, as the economic development officer confirms, the city could not be more pleased with what the future holds.

“Yorkton is poised for substantial growth over the next five to 10 years as feasibility and exploration projects are completed and companies make decisions regarding mine-site development,” says Anwar. “Regional and international businesses are investing billions in new ventures and expansion projects, creating new employment, recreation, and residential opportunities.”

 

 

Last Five Year and Projected Five Year Population Growth

Year

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2104

2015

2016

Population

17,260

17,603

17,608

18,000

18,471

18,782

19,098

19,419

19,745

20,076

Growth rate

1.49%

1.99%

0.03%

2.23%

2.62%

1.68%

1.68%

1.68%

1.68%

1.68%

Source: Sask Health, 2011 Covered Population & Projections by the City of Yorkton, 2011.

 

Projected In-Migration in Yorkton by 2015

Year

National & International Immigrants

Change

2001

920

2006

2770

201%

2010

1,089

-61%

2015

1,851 + 455 (7% of total new jobs in the region)

70% + 7% new jobs

Source: Statistics Canada 2002, 2006, and Welcome Wagon City of Yorkton 2011

Projections by the City of Yorkton 2011

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