The Biggar revitalization project in the Town of Biggar is getting a boost from a major player in the agriculture sector.
Viterra, the nation’s largest grain handler, announced it will match donations dollar for dollar up to $50,000 for the project.
Others are landing a hand, too. The project has also been backed by actor Kim Coates, who has family roots in the town, as well as the Brownlee family foundation.
In a YouTube video promoting the revitalization project, Coates reminisces about his childhood, his many visits to the town, and his fondness for it. He even drops the town’s infamous slogan: “New York is big, but this is Biggar.”
“Biggar’s my favourite town, but you all know that about me,” said Coates, whom others might know from his roles in Bad Blood, the Goon movies, and Sons of Anarchy.
“How ’bout a revitalization project for Biggar? This is about the streetscape. We need better sidewalks, we need flowers, we need some things to pop that incredible community. It’s time, it’s beyond time.”
The work is being funded through donations, which will be matched up to $2.5 million by former Biggar residents Ina Lou and Wayne Brownlee.
Organizations hope this latest boost will help the project reach the end goal.
“I’m confident that the generosity to support the success of our programs and will provide vital funding,” said Ryan Rindero, regional operations manager for Viterra Saskatchawan. “It’s through this kind of teamwork that our community thrives into the future.”
The project aims to help with the town’s ever-growing population.
“Regina and Saskatoon’s populations have been increasing quite dramatically,” said Chris Gbekorbu said, economic analyst with the Saskatchewan Realtor Association. “But outside of Regina and Saskatoon, the population is actually going down.”
The committee hopes to have the projected $8 million secured within the next six months with plans to be “shovel ready” by the spring of 2022.
“We want people to come to our safe community,” said Biggar mayor Jim Rickwood. “We want them to make it home, and make a future here. Not just for that generation, but for every generation ahead of us.”
— with files from Brenden Purdy