Keeping the economic boat afloat

Justin
Justin Crann
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Anderson offers suggestions to maintain Sask. strength

High tide may float all boats, but not if they have holes in them.

Bruce Anderson speaks about methods of sustaining the province's economic and population growth at the Heritage Inn during a Moose Jaw and District Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday.

Bruce Anderson, a certified management consultant, had a few ideas about how to plug the holes in Saskatchewan’s booming economy in preparation for the end of what he called a “supercycle” — an economic period when several key commodities produced in province are booming.

Anderson was at the Heritage Inn in Moose Jaw Wednesday to discuss the findings of several reports and what they mean for Saskatchewan’s long-term prospects. The presentation was sponsored by the Moose Jaw and District Chamber of Commerce.

“We don’t know how long this (supercycle) will last, so our interest is that we make sure we do things to sustain it with the booms we’re experiencing now,” Anderson told the Times-Herald before his presentation. “When the boom naturally slows down, we want to be in a better way as a province to continue to grow and prosper.”

There are several ways to set the province up for future success, he said.

“We need to understand the engine of our economy is our cities,” said Anderson. “That doesn’t mean rural Saskatchewan isn’t important — that’s where many of our commodities are produced. But our cities need to grow and prosper, and so we need to be doing things to make them more attractive.”

Among those improvements that need to be made, said Anderson, includes “creating more opportunities for cultural, artistic and recreational programming,” and encouraging “more investment in post-secondary education.”

“We need to get the maximum benefit from those pieces,” he added.

In addition, the province must work hard to promote its “pioneering spirit.”

“When the European settlers first came, we saw co-operation and entrepreneurship,” said Anderson. “After the Depression, we saw a real retrenchment of the win/lose mentality — if you did okay, I must be losing.

“Since the boom started in the last couple of years, the attitude seems to have changed again. Not only has it changed (back), it’s important that the new attitude continues,” he added. “We need to create and sustain partnerships, now.”

Ultimately, said Anderson, the goal should be a region-centric approach that breaks Saskatchewan into smaller regions featuring central cities — for instance, a region centred around Regina or Saskatoon.

The goal, he said, must be to encourage municipalities to work together, “otherwise we just go back to the win/lose system and nobody benefits.”

“We can’t have a dynamic that tries to encourage rural versus urban societies,” said Anderson. “This opportunity is too important to squander.”

Organizations: Heritage Inn, Moose Jaw and District Chamber of Commerce, Times-Herald

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Moose Jaw, Regina Saskatoon

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