The Town of Coronach is entering a stage of uncertainty as the eventual shutdown of the Poplar River Coal Mine and Power Plant looms ahead of them.

Built-in the late 1970s, the plant will reach the end of its lifetime by 2030, leaving approximately 300 people without jobs, and even more affected by the closure.

Catherine MacKay Wilson, Coronach's Town Administrator, explains why the shutdown is taking place.

"It's really more about the lifetime of the plant and its equipment than it is about the coal emissions. But it's up to Sask Power to make a change in terms of an injection of funds in order to change it so that it could keep running in a clean way to meet the emission standards in the future."

A closure would mean a huge shift in the area's economy and population.

"The landowners in the area are very affected by this in terms of income and infrastructure support across the RM. And throughout the town, the local businesses and their jobs will be as well. The dynamics will completely change if we lose 300 jobs between the plant and the mine."

MacKay Wilson says that some of the employees may choose to retire and say in the area but that many will be forced to relocate themselves and their families in order to find work. 

"[That many families leaving] would impact the health centre support that we get here as well as our school funding. We're very fortunate to have a local pharmacy and grocery store as well as an amazing sportsplex. So we're trying to prepare to do what we can to not lose those amenities if a lot of people leave."

The potential closure is still pretty far down the road but the MacKay Wilson says the town is working hard on making sure that they are prepared by then. They held town meetings on October 6th and 7th in Coronach, Rockglen, Big Beaver.

The hope for these meetings is to identify priorities for the communities in the area and how they can diversify their economic basis in the upcoming years.

"We're trying to do everything we look forward and be positive about what we can do to develop our tourism and opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Maybe do some Mainstreet improvements and see if would attract more people. We're a very safe, small, and sweet community and we just have to find a way of telling the bigger Saskatchewan population about that."

The Town has received federal funding to conduct this socio-economic study and MacKay Wilson says this has been a huge help in the transition process.

"I think that it is really important for communities to reach out to the government as much as they can and work as partners to overcome whatever challenges they are facing."

Despite the time of uncertainty ahead of them, MacKay Wilson is still positive that the area can make it through the coming changes and be better for the experience.

"We're really resilient here. This is about revitalizing Coronach and sharing all the amazing things that Cononach has. We're really positive about the opportunities we have been given."