The year 2018 was tremendous for construction activities in the Battlefords.
Both Battleford and North Battleford saw spikes in building permits issued. At the end of October, North Battleford had issued 117 permits for $24,287,100, almost $7 million ahead of their total for the year before.
Meanwhile, Battleford had seen even higher permit values, with their numbers boosted by a $20 million permit issued for the Thunderchild First Nation cannabis production facility. The 115,000 square foot facility is being developed by Westleaf Cannabis Inc. on Thunderchild’s land just off of Highway 16.
The other major construction news from Battleford in 2018 was the long-awaited final act in the restoration of the historic post office building on 22nd Street, as Canada Post officially reopened for business at the location in June.
In other construction activities in 2018, North Battleford saw construction move forward on the long-awaited new Magic Lantern four-screen movie theatre at the corner of 11th Avenue and 102nd Street.
As well, 1121-102nd Street saw construction activity on what will be a new Giant Tiger location in the city. The indication is the North Battleford location will open on May 18, 2019.
A new hotel was completed in 2018: the Comfort Inn and Suites on Carlton Trail. The 105-room hotel accepted its first guests during its soft opening during the summer, and held its grand opening in October.
While one new hotel is done, another new hotel is going up. The Holiday Inn Express and Suites Hotel began construction this fall.
A sod turning also took place in 2018 as construction began on an eight room co-housing project in North Battleford, backed by the federal and provincial governments and the Battlefords Indian and Metis Friendship Centre.
North Battleford also saw notable demolition activity in 2018, as the building that housed the former Longhorn Steakhouse, as well as the adjoining building north of that location, came down in December.
The biggest construction project of them all in the Battlefords has just about made it to the finish line. The new Saskatchewan Hospital and integrated correctional facility opened up to public tours this fall, as people could see for themselves the almost-finished building with its 284 rooms.
All that was left was to move in the new furniture as well as the patients from the old Saskatchewan Hospital. That process of transferring patients and staff was ongoing as the year ended, and a grand opening is expected sometime in the new year.
As for the old hospital, the province held an open house in late August outlining their future plans. Demolition seems the likely final fate of the old building, though the Battlefords North West Historical Society is proposing a walking trail and preservation of various elements of the old hospital site.
Overall, it has been a booming year of construction. In speaking to reporters in September, North Battleford Mayor Ryan Bater was buoyant about the construction activities happening in the Battlefords.
“I have been stopped by so many people, I’ve received emails, people telling me how great the downtown looks, how exciting it is to see so much construction downtown, construction in the southeast quadrant,” said Bater. “The whole city is seeing development right now, and it’s an amazing time to be here. This is during a time when most of the province is still in an economic downturn.”
He added the development activity was “really lifting the spirits of the people here, and I’m loving it, I’d like to see more of it.”