The 2016 Saskatchewan Summer Games announcement. A highway rebuild. Two twinning announcements. Construction on the carbon capture and storage project. The long overdue arrival of curbside recycling in the city. The most memorable concert in Estevan's history – for all the right and all the wrong reasons.
It has been another remarkable year in Estevan.
It's been a year for celebrations. Estevan was awarded the 2016 Saskatchewan Summer Games in November. Estevan's Games bid was a front-and-centre story throughout the year, and the relentless work of the local bid committee, and the enthusiasm of the community, have been rewarded.
Not only was it the biggest sports story of the year, but it was a story that transcended the sports pages, and became a focal point of the community.
The region celebrated when the provincial government announced that Highways 39 and 6 would be twinned from the junction of Highways 39 and 18 east of Estevan, all the way to Regina. The efforts of the local Time to Twin committee and twinning champion Jackie Fitzsimmons were richly rewarded.
It'll be years before the project is finished, but it's still worth celebrated.
Highway 47 in the northern half of the city was rebuilt and resurfaced, ending years of frustration for local residents who lamented its crumbling condition. The prolonged winter of 2012-13 left Souris Avenue North and much of 13th Avenue beyond repair, and everybody knew action was needed.
Yes, local residents had to incur a two-mill increase on property taxes to pay for the project, but most were happy when they were able to drive on a smooth surface that wasn't riddled with potholes.
The integrated carbon capture and storage project at the Boundary Dam Power Station continued to move towards completion. The project – and the carbon test facility at the Shand Power Station – are drawing global attention, and they'll bring global leaders to Estevan who want to see the future of coal-fired power production.
There was a Motley Crue concert that was a triumphant victory for Spectra Place and local music fans, until one spectator proved once again that foolishness and alcohol are a dangerous tag team. One city councillor resigned to move to B.C., and the City manager was let go.
Efforts continued to bring a CT Scan to Estevan. New physicians arrived in the community. The credit union merged with a much larger partner out of Saskatoon. Special events – ranging from concerts to festivals to fundraisers – attracted thousands of people not just those from Estevan, but from outside the community, too.
And Estevan continued to grow, with questions of how long will it last, and where will we put the new people.
It has been a year of triumphs, tragedies, memorable moments and milestones in Estevan. Most of the names, faces, and events associated with the big stories changed from 2012 to 2013, but Estevan's status as a thriving, dynamic city didn't change.
And we can expect another memorable year in 2014.