Deep South Economic Partnership
May 12, 2020
For Immediate Release:
Nine Saskatchewan Municipalities Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Pursue Cooperative Economic Development
Following development of a regional economic transition plan for the trading area surrounding the Town of Coronach, nine municipalities have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to leverage opportunities towards:
- Building capacity and encouraging investment and resident attraction
- Development of identified economic opportunities within the region
- Supporting workforce transition and retention due to the planned shutdown of the Poplar River Power Plan and Westmoreland Mine
Operating as the Deep South Economic Partnership, the group of communities will be undertaking branding and development of a regional website later this year, laying a foundation for resident and business attraction efforts. Looking to the future, the Deep South Partners are poised to advance a mutually-beneficial, cooperative economic development approach within the region. They join only a handful inter-municipal groups in Saskatchewan committed to doing so.
“With advancement of digital technologies to improve remote working, and a greater desire for families to live in safe rural communities, we feel Deep South region is well positioned to mitigate the impacts of the planned shutdown of the Poplar River Power Plant and Westmoreland Mine” says Trevor Schnell, Chair of the Partnership Committee and Mayor of the Town of Coronach.
The Partnership is comprised of the following partner jurisdictions.
- Rural Municipality of Happy Valley No. 10
- Rural Municipality of Hart Butte No. 11
- Rural Municipality of Poplar Valley No. 12
- Rural Municipality of Bengough No. 40
- Rural Municipality of Willow Bunch No. 42
- Town of Bengough
- Town of Coronach
- Town of Rockglen
- Town of Willow Bunch
The Partnership Committee includes ex-officio representation from the following organizations:
- Poplar River Power Station Director
- Poplar River Mine Manager
- Community Futures South Central
- Government of Canada
- Province of Saskatchewan
An Economic Transition Plan and Socio-Economic Impact Study was commissioned by the Town of Coronach and completed in November 2019. The Town of Coronach subsequently invited eight neighboring municipalities within its immediate trading area to work collaboratively to implement the plan.
Recruitment for a regional development specialist recently concluded and announcement of the successful candidate will be made in May. This individual will be responsible for facilitating, promoting and ensuring economic development takes place within the partner communities, in order to secure opportunities for business development and increase regional employment. A two-year work plan has been drafted as a starting point for development efforts.
Sharleine Eger, Chief Administrative Officer for the Rural Municipality of Willow Bunch affirms “now more than ever it is essential for the communities within our trading area to leverage our joint assets to retain and attract industry and residents to the region”.
The Government of Canada Coal Transition Fund is currently available to support suitable economic projects in coal transition communities located in Alberta and Saskatchewan. A fund for impacted communities has also been established by the Province of Saskatchewan.
Verona Thibault, Project Coordinator 306-384-5817
Mayor Trevor Schnell, Chair Deep South Economic Partnership/Mayor Town of Coronach 306- 267-7114
Sharleine Eger, CAO, Town of Willow Bunch 306-473-2450