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What is Economic Development and Why Should I Care?

People often wonder, “What is Economic Development and why should I care?” 

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?

Here is a very short answer.  We should all care about Economic Development because every single person in a community can benefit from it!

WHAT DOES ‘ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT’ EVEN MEAN?

Economic Development, very simply, means increasing the flow of money in a community so everyone has a better quality of life! 

EXPLAIN ‘QUALITY OF LIFE’ TO ME.

A good quality of life means feeling content and satisfied more often than not.  Also, it means feeling safe and secure more often than not.  And feeling like you have opportunities to keep busy, happy, and healthy.  This is really important for young people and families.  It also means feeling proud of your community more often than not.

SO HOW DO WE DO THAT?

Now we have answered the question “What is Economic Development and why should I care”.  How do we increase Economic Development so we improve quality of life?  How do we increase that flow of money?

THE VERY SIMPLE ANSWER= INDUSTRY AND TOURISM. 

Here are is the very simple answer.  Increase industry.  And increase tourism. Good jobs and fun things that keep young people and families busy, happy and healthy are the things that keep people in a community.  They are the things that draw new people to stay in that community and bring visitors who spend money for fun in that community. An economist can talk for hours and hours about the nuances of how to improve Economic Development.  The very simple answer is to increase both industry and tourism.

WHAT INDUSTRIES DO WE HAVE?

Prince Albert used to have a healthy forestry industry just North of of the city at the paper and pulp mill.  Losing those good jobs and the additional locally owned businesses that supported the mills was a huge set back for PA’s economy. 

WHAT TOURISM DO WE HAVE?

When you think of PA’s tourism, what do you think of?  The casino is a tourism draw.  People spend money in our city when they come to visit the casino.  The Raiders are a tourism draw.  Teams and their family & friends come here to play against the Raiders and they spend money in our city while they’re here.  People from surrounding communities come to town to cheer on the Raiders and spend money in our businesses while they’re here.  Other than these two things and coming to town for shopping and supplies, can you think of big tourism draws in PA?

We need to increase industry.  And we must create more tourism draws.

GOOD NEWS, BRIGHT FUTURE: INDUSTRY

Fortunately, we have a huge hospital expansion and major refurbishment that’s about to start.  That is our construction industry.  It will be followed by a major increase to our healthcare industry.  Both will stimulate our local economy in a big way.  First a construction boom.  Then people from all over the top half of the province come to PA for their healthcare needs instead of just passing through to go to Saskatoon.

Forestry industry has plans to return.  The paper mill will be no more.  But there are plans for the pulp mill!  One Sky OSB plans to make use of it.  That is estimated to be 120 good jobs not including the locally owned businesses that will support the mill. 

We have a large post secondary education industry here in PA.  There are many post secondary campuses here.  Many students come here from out of town, out of province and out of country!  They increase the flow of money while they’re here for months and months.  We need to be proud about this industry and talk about it more so we get even more Economic Development from it!

GOOD NEWS, BRIGHT FUTURE: TOURISM

Another answer to the “What is Economic Development and why should I care question” is tourism.

The Aquatic & Arenas Rec Centre will give us tourism like never before.  Canada is a big hockey, speed skating and figure skating/ ice dance country.  There are all sorts of provincial and national swimming competitions.  We’ll be able to have tournaments and competitions like never before.  Different provinces and even different countries will be able to come here to play and to compete. Every young family likes to splash around in a wave pool and lazy river for fun! And they spend money while they’re in our city.  They will increase the flow of money.

The proposed 4500 seat Event Centre would seriously increase the flow of money to our city!  We can have major events that people and organizations from all across Canada and all over the world attend!  We can have concerts or tradeshows or expos that we’ve never been eligible for with the Art Hauser.  All of these concerts and entertainment acts pay the city user fees in order to play or do their show or expo in the city’s facility.  That’s money into the city’s revenues.  And they spend money in our local businesses while they’re here.

When the city makes more money from international and national user fees, it can spend more on services that help citizens have a better quality of life. 

GIVING BACK

And when our businesses are all busy and successful with tourism dollars, they like to give back with donations to local charities, sports clubs, arts clubs and cultural events.  So when the local charities have more money, they can provide more programming to keep us busy, happy and healthy.  They can also provide more programming to support those who need more help and are less fortunate.  Then everyone feels like the quality of life is improving.

So there is the long but very simplified answer to the question “What is Economic Development and why should I care”.  It means increasing industry and tourism so more money flows into the city so we all get a better quality of life and feel more satisfied and proud.