It's been a full quarter one already in 2017 for the Town of Bienfait, and they are looking ahead to a busy rest of the year.

Among the highlights that stand out in the months to come is the celebration of Canada's 150th birthday, and Mayor Paul Carroll revealed some of their plans.

"All of the major events that we normally have will be going forward. We're not sure if there's a lot of expansion on those yet or not."

He added that they are also planning a parade based around the miner's strike.

When it comes to business in the community, Carroll said that he has seen an increase in oilfield traffic, a slow but sure sign that the sector is recovering. He mentioned that coal seems to be holding steady as well.

"We did receive somewhat of a blow from the Affinity Credit Union recently, when they announced that they will be closing the branch in Bienfait. It's going to especially have a major effect on the residents that don't drive."

"They say that the online banking will take over a lot of that area, but I highly doubt it. I think they will end up losing some of those customers as time goes through," he shared.

"It's a hit to the Town's economic well-being when you lose a business of that stature. Slowly but surely we are seeing small towns in Saskatchewan diminishing, and we want to try and reverse that and welcome back any businesses that we can."

"We'd certainly consider anybody that wants to open a business in our downtown core, and we'd welcome them I'm sure to our business community," he expressed.

Carroll related, however, that there is some hope. There has been some talk of another Credit Union system opening part-time in the town.

"We'll take that and see where it goes, I guess."

The provincial budget cuts that were announced in March took a bite out of every community in Saskatchewan, and Bienfait was no exception.

"We lost several thousand dollars. I'm not sure of the total, but I'd say it was in the neighborhood of $30-40,000 out of our annual operating budget. We've had to adjust for that, plus we lost funding in our library. As of our last meeting we are looking for ways to keep that open and help out in that area."

Carroll noted that the full effects of the cuts probably will not show themselves until later in the year.

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