Saskaboom not Quite What Some Claim
Living here in Saskatchewan I am getting more than a bit tired of all the talk about the economic boom we are living through. I lived in Calgary during the booming early 80's and believe me, the Saskaboom is quite different.
By anyone’s terms, Saskatchewan is still small potatoes compared to the big boys.
Sure we have lots of oil and gas, our own, yet to be developed, tar sands, potash, uranium and of course diamonds. And, if agriculture was as bad as the farmers would like us to think, no one would be still in the game. So, according to the government and the newspapers things are really cooking but, truth be known, it is bubbling away in a pretty small pot.
Things may be percolating over at WalMart but I still can't get an Ikea Stornas/Henriksdal dining room set without driving to Calgary. Boom or not, Saskatchewan is too small for Ikea to even think about opening up an outlet.
This week, in the midst of our so called boom, Standard & Poors downgraded their outlook on the City of Regina from stable to negative. I don't know a hell of a lot about the language used by financial ratings organizations but even "stable" doesn't sound very good to me. To me "stable is not all that many steps away from "on life support", but what do I know.
Regina’s Mayor, Pat Fiacio got elected on a cut spending/no new taxes campaign and true to form he tried to beat up the city's workers and held the line on taxes. He and his pro-development council have approved ugly and sprawling new housing developments and shopping centres but have done very little to maintain what we already have. Roads are so badly made it is like riding a roller coaster just driving to work, we still don't have curbside recycling, residents complain that street lights take months to be replaces after they burn our and the snow removal is so spotty residents living off bus routes have to hire contractors to clear snow from their street.
Now the city faces a deficit of $238,000,000 to the Civic Employees Superannuation and Benefit Plan and there is a infrastructure debt of almost $1.5 billion in the 10 year capital plan.
Lets bring back a much needed small dose of reality to all this. I heart Regina too Pat but, in my books, you are all booster, no boom.