The Town of Gull Lake had many positive happenings in 2018 that helped us end the year much better than last year when we lost the Clarendon Hotel. This year Michaels Convivence Store and Petersons AG Foods were sold and has new owners. New businesses Trappers Auto Tech and the Pioneer Co-op Liquor Store opened and Hunts Hunting Supplies will also be opening at the former liqour store location. The community was saddened by the loss of Lilly’s Kitchen and Bar but is excited to see the opening of the Last Chance Bar and Grill.
Town Council expanded its business incentive policy to help new owners purchase a new business in an existing building or an existing business in an existing building (See Incentives for Details). Improvements were also made to the Façade Improvement Policy to help business owners that are looking to make improvements to their storefronts.
Town Council also approved the Towns participation in the Thrive Sask Program developed by the Saskatchewan Economic Development Association. Council and the Economic Development Committee under the direction of Lindsay Aliban (Economic Development Officer) had a busy year working on the Thrive Sask Program. The program is helping the town develop some short-term planning ideas to help the committee plan for long-term change, while also implementing short-term, inexpensive and placed-based activities that support the local business sector. The committee has had several planning meetings and will be working to create a sense of enthusiasm and momentum about the community in the coming year.
The EDC held a Summer Solstice Event downtown in June. The event was designed to bring people to the downtown and was well attended. The committee will be looking to have more events like this in the downtown. The EDC also held a social media workshop for businesses earlier this year, and Lindsay has helped a few businesses with their Facebook Pages.
The town sold five residential lots two of which were in the Centennial Place Subdivision. Centennial Place has been doing well and now has just five lots left to sell. Today Gull Lake has a total of 13 homes for sale, which is still very low and far less proportionately than some larger communities in the Southwest.
Town Council was also pleased to implement the City of Swift Current’s Safe Places – Youth certified initiative. The program is designed to help raise awareness of bullying, abuse, harassment, and discrimination of children and provide measures to prevent these things from happening. Program certification is portable and residents who become “Youth Certified” in Gull Lake will have their credentials recognized in Swift Current.” Businesses, Organizations that participate by having their staff trained will be given a certificate to display in their building.
The Heritage Committee recommended that the Elks Hall be declared Heritage Property. Council declared the hall a heritage property and has since been approached by the Elks to assume ownership of the building. The building needs roof repairs and is becoming a challenge for the Elks to manage. Council has agreed to take ownership of the hall and will look at implementing roof repairs in the upcoming year.
Heritage Committee volunteers helped to restore the front door on the Wong Guy Shoe Shop and will be looking to have it installed next year. Currently, the committee is looking for contractors to install the door and main windows on the front of the building.
The Cemetery Committee has obtained a gate that will be installed at the entrance to the new section of the graveyard. The committee also did some annual grave cover cleaning and more will be done next year.
Town Council approved the creation of the new Recreation Advisory Committee. The Committee will replace the Gull Lake Recreation Board and will have a broad mandate to advise Town Council on what they would like to see in terms of recreational programs and facility improvements. Committee Membership is open to both town and rural residents who have an interest in improving recreational opportunities to the Gull Lake Area. If you would like to join or help the committee contact Sara Kuntz (Recreation Director) at 306-672-4449.
Several recreation expenditures were approved this year, including $5,022 for the purchase of assorted toys, fitness equipment and storage shed at Crescent Point Pool. The Recreation Complex Eves Troughs were repaired at a cost of $2,500.00, and a generator was installed at the Community Hall for $9,000. The Council approved $9,000 to be given to the Gull Lake Ball Diamond Committee to help with the building of the new ball diamond. A $500 contribution to the economic development committees Summer Solstice event was approved for professional storm chaser Chris Chittick. A $3,000 contribution was also made to the Antelope Lake Regional Park. To help with the hockey week festivities the town will cover the cost of the Fireworks and Tombola Table approximately $5,000.
I would like to thank our Cemetery, Economic, Heritage, Tourism, and Recreation Committee, members. The work that these people do for the community is greatly appreciated by Town Council.
As we end this year with hope and optimism I want to wish everyone all the best in 2019!