Building permits in Moosomin were close to $9 million in 2016, more than four times the level of construction the previous year. Building permits totalled $8,914,900 and were led by two commercial projects. Sharpe’s Soil Services constructed a dry fertilizer facility for $2 million and Borderland Co-op began construction on a new building for $5.3 million, bringing the total for commercial building permits to $7.3 million. Altogether, residential permits totalled $1,614,900. A few new houses, storage sheds, garages, and decks were constructed in 2016.
Building permits for 2015 were just over $2 million, at $2,090,135. Commercial building permits made up $863,835, while institutional building permits equalled $650,000, and residential permits amounted to $465,000.
Moosomin Mayor Larry Tomlinson says he is not surprised that building permits increased by such a large amount.
“The Co-op is pretty huge,” said Tomlinson. “That’s probably the biggest one.”
Tomlinson says he doesn’t expect building permits to remain as high as they currently are.
“I’d expect them to taper down a bit,” said Tomlinson. “Unless something goes crazy in the oilfield.”
Tomlinson also says that he and the town would like to see more development and is working to encourage more development in Moosomin.
“We’d like to see more residential and commercial development. We just developed an economic development committee in the last month that we’re hoping will help get things rolling.”
Councillor Ron Fisk, who was elected this fall after making economic development a main part of his platform, said he hopes to see more economic development in Moosomin in the future.
“I hope we see continued commercial development, and residential should go right alongside it,” he said. “Every time you get a new business, you need homes for more people.
“I think the town needs more development. We are establishing an economic development committee and we want to do more to promote the town,” he said. “There’s so much potential for new businesses, from retail businesses to industry. It’s unlimited what we could do.”
New Home Centre on schedule
The largest construction project started in 2016 in Moosomin is Borderland Co-op’s new 25,500-square-foot home centre, which is on schedule to open in June of 2017.
“We’re actually ahead of schedule,” said Borderland Co-op GM Jason Schenn.
He said there haven’t been a lot of surprises along the way.
“Everything exterior is done now. The pavement is in place. All that’s left outside is tin, stucco, and signage. All the work that needs to be done is inside.”
The 25,500-square-foot home centre will be the largest Co-op home centre in rural Saskatchewan. “This is a first for us,” said Schenn. “The sister building for this is going up in Bonneville, Alberta.
This is a first for rural Saskatchewan, so we are excited.”
Schenn said work is well under way on planning for stocking and staffing the new store.
“We put together a transition team and they’re working on the plans for all the different sections in here. We have maybe 100 sections to work with in the old store, and there are going to be 450-plus in the new store, so it’s a huge expansion. A lot of it is expanding on what we’ve got, and bringing some things inside. There will be a lot of new lines. We’ll get deeper into the kitchen side of things—cabinetry, things like that. In hardware, electrical, plumbing, lighting, we will have more variety, more lines, so it won’t just be just two or three basic choices, but a lot more variety.”
Schenn expects the new store to draw from a wider area because of the improved selection.
“When we originally did our market study, we saw there are a lot of stores in that 5,000-8,000 square foot range, so everyone has the basic core standard items that you need to have. By building this size of store, we can carry a lot more selection. Now people have the option to drive a half hour instead of two hours to the city to get more selection, and we think that will bring in new customers from some of the surrounding communities.”
Schenn said the Co-op will be adding several new jobs with the opening of the new home centre.
“We’ve already started ramping up our staff,” he said. “We’ll be close to 20 or 25 employees in the store when it opens. We were at 8-10 in the old home centre, so we’re more than doubling the staff.
“We will be adding some expertise as well. We’re looking for a couple of project specialists who will work with lumber customers with houses, garages, decks, to provide more support in that area from start to finish.”
Schenn expects the new store to help grow Borderland’s overall sales. “In terms of lumber we’ve already got a pretty good chunk of the contractor business. A lot of the contractors work with us. But on the DIY side, if you can save some people from driving to the city, that’s where we could see some gains.”
The cost of the home centre came in lower than expected. “When the tenders came in we were pleasantly surprised. It came in lower than we thought.
The general contractor has been fantastic, and the subs have been fantastic. Even a year ago, when we were dealing with Whitewood’s construction, guys were taking on too much. Now we’ve got tradespeople coming in with their A-team, the guys they have kept on during the downturn, so they’re fast, they do it right, and the cost is reasonable. The timing for this is just right.”
Borderland is hoping to get a few community groups to help with moving inventory into the new building in the summer. “If there are any groups that can help us with that, it will be an opportunity for fundraising for them,” he said. “We’re going to need extra help to get this all in place and up and running, so if there are some groups that can give us a hand, that will go a long ways, and we can turn that back around into a donation to the clubs.”