With the recent KPMK study, I believe that Prince Albert stood out for a number of reasons. Firstly Canada ranked number two (2) out of the (10) countries for competitiveness. Saskatchewan stood out even further, Saskatoon ranked number one (1) for cities under 500,000. Prince Albert & Moose Jaw faired even better, as they were measured based on smaller populations and as midsized cites they are able to capitalize on offering very affordable costs to establish and operate a business or enterprise.
A mid size city is able to capitalize on and leverage lower, labour costs, lower land costs, better lease rates, and transportation costs, these are some of the business considerations that a mid size city should be promoting to attract business growth & expansion.
In regards to future needs, infrastructure is of huge importance. Yes, our bridge is the choke point for the transport of goods and services to and for our north, and for visitors traveling north and south. However, our infrastructure deficient is much larger than a single bridge. Our infrastructure deficit and our Region requires an infrastructure plan that will ensure our Region is connected. This would include a review of all our highway interchanges to ensure they are planned and designed to serve the region into the future. Components such as a designated dangerous goods route, safe effective routing of traffic through the various highway connections and interchanges.
A Infrastructure plan could identity our infrastructure priorities and create plans through tri- party government agreements to set out and achieve these critical priorities.
Our region needs to be part of the growth plan for the province; we can't afford to be left behind.....
Now, as good as our opportunities are as a Mid-sized city! We must continue to focus on regional competitiveness to compete with other growing regions in our province.
This competitiveness is measured through many considerations such as; taxation, incentives, labour costs and availability. In addition, quality of life comes into play in attracting and retaining labour. Things such as Education, Health care, arts and culture, are vital to maintaining a high quality of life. All these factors combined with the special positives a midsized city can offer such as; shorter commuting time, less traffic congestion levels, slower pace, all come together to offer a attractive region, for both business and residents.
I hope this offers some clarity in regards to recent coverage, and I also hope others will agree with some of these points, specifically the need to advocate for a regional infrastructure plan, and the importance of leveraging out very positive Midsized city advantages.
Prince Albert & District Chamber of Commerce