Warman, Saskatchewan – Canada

March 26, 2024

Warman, Saskatchewan

Pioneering Growth and Community Well-being in Saskatchewan

 

Shaping its future with strategic developments, collaborative efforts, and a visionary approach to urban growth and healthcare.

Warman, Saskatchewan, just 15 kilometers north of Saskatoon, is a notable example of rapid urban growth and resilience. Established in 1904 and incorporated as a city in 2012, Warman has a storied history marked by early 20th-century setbacks, including fires and tornadoes, yet it has remarkably transformed into Saskatchewan’s ninth-largest city.

As of the 2021 census, Warman boasts a population of 12,419, reflecting a significant growth rate that previously ranked it as Canada’s fastest-growing municipality (over 5000 population). This surge is primarily attributed to its status as a bedroom community for Saskatoon, offering a tranquil, suburban alternative to the bustling city life. The city’s compact 13.10 square kilometers area encapsulates a rich blend of historical charm and modern amenities.

Gary Philipchuk, Warman’s mayor, eloquently articulates the essence of this burgeoning city. “We’re a thriving community, constantly expanding and offering many opportunities, especially for young families,” he explains. The focus on recreation is evident, serving all ages and contributing to Warman’s reputation as a new, safe, well-equipped city. With 75% of Warman’s infrastructure being under 25 years old, the city is a collection of modern planning and close-knit amenities, making it an attractive destination for families and retirees.

A Hub of Regional Growth

Warman’s distinction as the fastest-growing city in Saskatchewan is more than a title; it reflects deliberate and strategic efforts toward urban development and community enrichment. This growth is not an isolated phenomenon but part of a broader regional upswing. The city’s progress, while impressive on its own, is amplified when viewed as a component of a thriving triangular region, including neighboring communities like Martensville and Saskatoon.

Mayor Philipchuk, with a tone of earned pride, confirms Warman’s status. “Yes, we have been recognized as the fastest-growing city in the province based on the latest census data,” he says. This growth is not a recent spike but a sustained trend observed over the last few censuses. “A few years ago, we even topped the charts as the fastest-growing municipality in Canada,” he recalls. While the growth percentage naturally tapers as the city expands, the momentum continues unabated.

The mayor emphasizes the collaborative nature of this growth, extending beyond Warman’s boundaries. “Our region, including Martensville and Saskatoon, is collectively experiencing significant development,” he remarks. This collective progress is not just a matter of chance but the result of concerted community efforts. He points out the significance of regional initiatives like the Planning for Growth (P4G) partnership involving Warman, Martensville, Saskatoon, the Town of Osler, and the RM of Corman Park.

Infrastructure: The Foundation of Growth

In urban development, the role of infrastructure cannot be overstated. It’s the backbone that supports a city’s growth, enabling it to flourish economically and socially. For a rapidly growing city like Warman, the continuous evolution of its infrastructure is vital. It’s not just about expanding; it’s about modernizing and adapting to the needs of a burgeoning population. This is precisely where Warman’s focus lies, as Mayor Philipchuk explains.

“We’ve just been approved for the 5G network, placing us at the forefront of internet speed in the province,” he states. In terms of essential services, Warman has not been idle. A recent $22 million investment in wastewater management exemplifies their proactive approach. “This project expands our lagoon, enabling growth up to a population of approximately 30,000, with the potential to accommodate 45,000,” Mayor Philipchuk elaborates. This strategic upgrade reflects Warman’s readiness for its projected population surge.

The educational infrastructure of Warman has also seen remarkable progress, mirroring the city’s overall growth trajectory. Mayor Philipchuk, drawing from his experience as a former vice principal, recounts the expansion of educational facilities. “From the construction of a new high school to the addition of two elementary schools, we now have five schools in our city,” he notes. This educational boom aligns with the city’s demographic expansion, ensuring that Warman’s residents can access quality education within their community.

Strategic Development: Recreation and Wastewater

In a city where growth is not just a goal but a reality, strategic planning in infrastructure becomes a cornerstone. Warman’s twofold approach focuses on essential services like wastewater management and quality-of-life enhancements like recreational facilities. This balance is crucial, as it caters to the city’s practical needs while fostering community engagement and well-being.

Mayor Philipchuk highlights the intricacies of the lagoon project, a significant undertaking for Warman. “We secured ICIP funding (Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program), receiving around $13 million from federal and provincial governments,” he reveals. This project isn’t just about expansion; it’s about preparing for the future. “We’re staying ahead of the curve, ensuring our infrastructure can support our growth without hindrances,” he adds. This proactive stance is key to Warman’s success, avoiding the pitfalls of reactive urban planning that have hampered growth in other communities.

Turning to recreational developments, Mayor Philipchuk discusses the expansion of Warman’s recreation facilities. The city faced challenges in funding its ambitious project, the expansion of the Warman Home Centre Communiplex. “After four attempts at securing external funding, we decided to move forward with a tax levy,” he explains. This levy, designated solely for recreational capital projects, reflects Warman’s commitment to enhancing community life.

 

Fostering Business Growth and Diversity

In Warman, economic development is multifaceted, focusing on attracting large-scale enterprises and nurturing the growth of local small businesses. This balanced approach ensures a robust and diverse economic fabric, catering to the needs of a rapidly growing population. The city’s strategy involves creating a conducive environment for businesses of all sizes, ranging from construction giants to burgeoning retail and restaurant ventures.

Warman’s Economic Development Officer Ashley Goetz outlines the city’s current business landscape. “We have a strong presence in the construction industry, with Warman Homes being a major player,” she says. These large-scale businesses contribute significantly to the local economy and actively participate in community development.

On the other end of the spectrum, Warman is witnessing a surge in retail and restaurant sectors, propelled by its growing populace. “We aim to offer various services locally, reducing the dependency on neighboring cities like Saskatoon,” Goetz adds. To achieve this, Warman offers attractive incentives, such as tax abatements for new developments and improvements, competitive business license fees, and commercial tax rates. These measures are geared towards making Warman a compelling choice for investors and entrepreneurs alike.

Residential Expansion: Meeting Diverse Housing Needs

Warman’s residential landscape is evolving rapidly, catering to various housing needs. This evolution is crucial in accommodating the city’s anticipated growth. From luxurious lakefront properties to affordable single-family homes, the city is developing a comprehensive housing strategy. This approach addresses the current housing demand and anticipates future needs, ensuring a sustainable and balanced residential development.

Mayor Philipchuk details the breadth of Warman’s residential offerings. “We have a wide range of lots available, with prices varying based on location and amenities,” he says. These options cater to various preferences and budgets, from modest homes to upscale properties adjoining the golf course or lakes. This diversity in housing is a strategic move to differentiate Warman from nearby Saskatoon, offering unique living experiences. “Our city retains a small-town charm, with features like back alleys and ample space, fostering a sense of community,” the mayor adds.

The mayor acknowledges the challenges and opportunities in Warman’s housing market. While the city has abundant single-family homes, there’s a recognized need for more rental and entry-level housing options. “Our major developer, K.H. Developments have played a pivotal role in shaping our residential landscape,” Mayor Philipchuk remarks. Led by Karen and Dave Holst and now their successors, this developer has facilitated the city’s expansion and contributed significantly to community projects.

Revitalizing Downtown Warman

The revitalization of downtown Warman is a pivotal aspect of the city’s development strategy, aiming to create a vibrant, walkable, and community-centric space. This initiative is not merely about urban planning; it’s about breathing new life into the city’s heart, crafting a modern and inviting downtown, and fostering a sense of belonging among residents and visitors alike.

Goetz illuminates the ongoing efforts to rejuvenate Warman’s Central Street. “We’ve seen a business-driven initiative to enhance walkability and shopping experiences, particularly in the summer,” she explains. This effort is supported by community events, including a significant summer parade and the newly inaugurated Central Street Festival. “Our goal is to attract people to the parade and then encourage them to stay, shop, and explore our local businesses,” Goetz adds. The city also focuses on beautification, with seasonal decorations enhancing the area’s aesthetic appeal, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Mayor Philipchuk reflects on the unique challenges and opportunities in shaping Warman’s downtown identity. “A major fire in the early 1900s eradicated many historic buildings, so our downtown lacks those old brick structures typical of many cities,” he says. This absence of historical architecture means Warman has the chance to forge a new identity for its downtown, one that aligns with its modern and dynamic character.

 

Collaborative Efforts: Strengthening Regional Ties

In an increasingly interconnected world, the success of a city often hinges on its ability to forge and nurture collaborative relationships. Warman’s approach to partnerships reflects a deep understanding of this principle. By engaging with various organizations and entities, Warman is enhancing its own prospects and contributing to the prosperity of the broader region. This collaborative spirit is fundamental in driving mutual growth and addressing shared challenges.

Mayor Philipchuk outlines several vital partnerships instrumental in Warman’s development. “The Prairie Sky Chamber of Commerce plays a pivotal role, and we maintain a close working relationship with them,” he states. Another significant collaboration is with the Prairie Spirit School Division. “We have a mutually beneficial arrangement where we share facilities, recognizing that ultimately, it’s the taxpayers who benefit,” Mayor Philipchuk notes. This synergy extends to Great Plains College, with whom Warman collaborates to align educational offerings with the city’s workforce needs.

Additionally, Mayor Philipchuk highlights Warman’s involvement with the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA). “As the regional chair, I have the opportunity to work on projects that benefit the entire Saskatoon region,” he says. This role is crucial in planning for the region’s future growth, with strategies in place to accommodate up to a million residents over the next 50 years.

Mayor Philipchuk also touches on Warman’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, following the Government of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation initiatives. “We are active Prairie Rivers ReconciliationCircle members,” he shares. This involvement is about economic collaboration but also encompasses social, healthcare, and infrastructure development, underlining the importance of understanding and working together for the collective good.

Prioritizing Healthcare: A Vision for the Future

As Warman continues to evolve and expand, the focus on enhancing community services, particularly healthcare, becomes increasingly paramount. The city’s leadership recognizes the critical need for accessible and efficient healthcare services, especially given the rapid population growth. This focus not only addresses a fundamental need of the residents but also represents a significant step in making Warman a self-sustaining urban center.

Mayor Philipchuk outlines the primary objective for 2024, advocating for the Provincial government to emphasize the vital role of healthcare in Warman’s future. “We’re actively pursuing the establishment of an urgent care center and ambulance services within Warman,” he reveals. The goal extends to potentially incorporating limited inpatient care facilities, revolutionizing the city’s healthcare landscape. This initiative underscores a proactive approach to addressing immediate healthcare needs and reimagining healthcare delivery from a modern perspective.

Mayor Philipchuk’s aspiration to establish Warman as a model for modern healthcare is compelling. “There’s a unique opportunity to build our healthcare services from the ground up, implementing innovative and effective approaches,” he explains. This vision of primary care in Warman aims to provide residents with immediate healthcare access, ensuring efficient and directed medical attention. The focus on this critical sector demonstrates Warman’s commitment to its residents’ well-being, further cementing its status as a city that’s advancing in size and the quality of life it offers.

AT A GLANCE

City of Warman

What: A rapidly growing city known for its strategic urban development, community-focused initiatives, and innovative infrastructure projects

Where: Saskatchewan, Canada

Website: https://www.warman.ca/

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