The Soapbox: More people, more problems

Justin Crann
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Saskatchewan just keeps on growing. After 22 years, the number of registered live births in the province has exceeded 15,000 — a figure that hasn’t been seen since 1991, according to a government release.

It’s good news for a region of the country that spent a long time languishing in limbo, and adds to an already established trend of job market growth and climbing average earnings numbers.

But with the boons of a steadily growing job market and a population on sharp incline, there also comes a number of challenges — most notably in the ability of existing infrastructure to accommodate the boom numbers.

Infrastructure is an area in which Moose Jaw struggles.

From our leaky dam to the recent power outages, and from sometimes questionable snow removal to poorly-conceived intersections with troublesome visibility, the Friendly City often falls short in the infrastructure department. That’s not to say that things can’t be turned around.

While she was courting Moose Javians for their votes during the municipal election, Mayor Deb Higgins made an insightful comment about the importance of infrastructure to a growing urban centre.

“You cannot build a house without a strong foundation,” she said during one campaign stop. “And you cannot build a city without strong infrastructure.

“To grow Moose Jaw, we need to strengthen our core infrastructure,” Higgins added.

I couldn’t agree more, Mayor Higgins. But you can’t rob Peter in order to pay Paul.

In the coming years, council as a collective — spearheaded by our mayor — will have to look at ways they can achieve optimal results with minimal expense, or it will have to look at ways to generate more revenue.

There are plenty of options that have been explored in numerous urban centres across the country and internationally — and not all of them necessarily involve creating new taxes or jacking up existing ones.

Infrastructure can be the single greatest facilitator to growth, but crumbling infrastructure can stifle it.

City council needs to act immediately to make improvements on Moose Jaw’s infrastructure before it becomes a hindrance to the city’s continuing growth and potential prosperity.

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Friendly

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