Glenn George, Melfort’s mayor, said that despite COVID-19, Melfort had a pretty good year with highlights including upgrades at the Melfort Hospital, business growth and community partnerships.
At the hospital, the new STARS Helipad had its first usage in January and the official opening was held in June. In addition, after 11 years of lobbying from the city, the hospital acquired its first computed tomography (CT) scanner which was unveiled in early September.
“Long-term it just means so much to our medical community,” George said. “Melfort is becoming more and more a centre of excellence where you can get a doctor in Melfort and do a lot of things where you don’t have to be sent off to Saskatoon or Regina to get done. We’re pretty happy about that.”
Another highlight of George’s was the community partnerships that had taken place, particularly pointing to Communities in Bloom, which his wife Peggy George is an active volunteer with.
“The City of Melfort and Communities in Bloom work really well together,” George said, pointing to the new 20 feet high welcome sign, shaped like a grain elevator on the north end of the city which was proposed by the organization. “It looks great, it’s welcoming – it’s just good for Melfort.”
One item from council which brought George pride over the year was declaring Melfort’s Saskatchewan Drive “Veterans Way.” Communities in Bloom, in conjunction with the Melfort Legion, sold 20 banners featuring veterans with local connections, which the city installed along the street during the months of October and November.
George said the banners are expected to be continued to be used in future years, and that Communities in Bloom already have a waiting list for others wishing to add banners of their loved ones.
For administration, George said a highlight was staff reconfiguration, as the city welcomed Adam Holmes as their new city manager and Marley Seymour as their new city clerk.
“The significance of that is in the administration world Adam’s No. 1 and Marley’s No. 2, so the top of our administration staff has changed over and it’s all looking good.”
In regards to economic development, the city had a few announcements with Backstage Music and the Prairie North Co-op food store making plans to move and expand at the Stonegate Shopping Centre as well as G3 proposing a $55.8 million grain elevator near Melfort. George called the Stonegate expansions positive and the grain elevator “great economic value” to Melfort businesses.
“It’s a project in the RM but it’s going to be a highlight for the city also,” he said.
In terms of paving, George felt the paving of the walking path from Broadway Avenue to Windsor Waterfowl Park near the golf course was a positive improvement.
“A year ago we constructed it, then we paved it this year. It’s a part of our continuing plan to have a walking path that goes all the way around Melfort.”
For 2022, George said residents can expect significant pothole work. In 2020 the city purchased a hot-mix paver for potholes, but when COVID-19 hit and the city cut staffing levels they found themselves without someone to do the work.
“In the budget this year (it) will definitely be budgeted for a person to run it and we can get our potholes filled correctly because that’s one of the big concerns how rough our roads are and that’s a concern for us too,” he said.
“I would say we would get them mostly all fixed. We’ve been fixing them this year too but when you use cold-mix it’s not as good as the hot-mix so you have to do them more often.”
With the 2022 budget remaining in deliberations and nothing passed yet, George said Melfort residents can also expect some other positive projects in the coming year, but for that they’ll need to wait.
Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal