The City of Swift Current is left watching as the City of Martensville was approved for a grant that Swift Current was passed over for.
Martensville was recently approved for a grant via the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) to the tune of $32 million for a new community rink.
Swift current also applied to the same program earlier this year and was turned down. Swift Current would have used the funding to build new civic facilities.
Jim Jones, general manager of community services for the City of Swift Current, reveals that two projects specifically have been in the City's aims for a while.
"The big ones that we've wanted to get since 2014 before I came, was integrated facilities, or at least a fieldhouse and an Aquatic Center," said Jones. "Anyways, we were turned down for the ICIP grants for that and we feel strongly that it's our turn."
Swift Current has recently been making sure to repair its existing Aquatic Centre, having earlier this year repaired the roof, and just recently one of the boilers for the pool.
Something that Martensville did that helped them achieve their funding goals outside of the grant approval was community-based funding, helping to generate some of the required cash to get the project rolling. They managed to bring in close to $11 million on their own before the grant came in.
"We're on our way to something like that," said Jones. "We're going to try to do some increased lobbying with our local MLA and also other MLAs that we know in the province. Hopefully down the road, we will be next [to receive an (ICIP) grant]."
The last time the City applied for the grant, they were asking for $25 million. This money would have been used to either update and renovate the close to 40-year-old Aquatic Centre, and possibly other civic facilities, or it would have gone directly into constructing new facilities with modern technologies and materials.
A new Aquatic Centre was estimated to end up costing $37.5 million, and a fieldhouse was priced at $25 million during their last bid.
One factor to be considered is Martensville's close proximity to the population supercentre of Saskatoon. With a higher population in the area to take advantage of the projects, the Saskatchewan government has to consider them perhaps more strongly to meet the higher demand for public facilities.
"At the end of the day if you have users that are using it and then when you use it, what, 20 miles from 250,000 people, what ends up happening is of course that's always a consideration," said Jones. "When you're one of the fastest growing cities in Saskatchewan, the provincial government has to take note of that."
For Swift Current to climb the provincial radar for the next grant and grants in the future, there are a few things that could help stimulate the decision-making process.
"I think the biggest thing that can happen for Swift Current is if we had some more industry," said Jones. "That would come in and we would have a larger nucleus of people that were coming here."
While these goals are still off somewhere in the future, Swift Current has had plenty of success with projects in similar veins. One of those is the Chinook Pathway, which sees the entirety of the city accessible by trail. Another big attractor for potentials coming to Swift Current is the Cypress Regional Hospital, which while based in Swift Current, services the whole of the southwest and its medical needs.