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YaraCentre

I'm a member.  I love the place.  The staff is friendly and professional.  I'm talking about YaraCentre, our indoor field house and fitness facility in Moose Jaw.  

YaraCentre in the news this week with the City of Moose Jaw letting us know their contracted concession partners will move into the facility and offer a variety of food and drink on the weekends.

It's a good move.  Folks who rent the facility on a regular basis have been bringing in their own food and/or having large orders delivered.  

You see, we built the place with the proper food service amenities included but we've never really used them.  The concession is located just inside the front doors and will offer a variety of hot and cold food items.

All good?  Not really.  You see, we don't have a lobby large enough to handle groups of people.  It's going to increase congestion and, with no food or drink allowed inside the turf and track area, folks will have to walk up two flights of stairs to eat and drink.

We'll see how it goes.  I'm sure we'll make do.  But that's my point.  We shouldn't have to make do.  We should have built the place the right way in the first place.

Tax Exemption

So, we've attracted some industry but it comes with a price.  City Council approving, this week, a three year, 100% tax exemption for a company called Imperial Distillery.  They have a plan to use two buildings on Ominica Street East to make whiskey.

City Councillors Scott McMann and Brian Swanson voted against the tax break and you can bet they're not the only citizens opposed.  However, the comments on the DiscoverMooseJaw Facebook page would indicate the locals are pleased with this.

Shawn writes, "Mr. Tolmie, you...are a reasonable man.  This city needs to invest in itself and its people and jobs are jobs.  Frankly we need outside development and investment...Thank you for reasoning through this and the...people who will be working and...renovating the place will thank you also."

Ron replies,  "You're assuming they will be hiring local and not bringing their staff with them..."

And then Steven says, "Even if they do hire outside...it's still money coming into Moose Jaw because they'll be buying things here and staying here.  Either way it's a positive!"

West Coast Trip

We used to call it "The west coast trip".  We looked forward to it every year and, I believe we departed right after Christmas on 14 of the 15 trips I went on.

Our Moose Jaw Warriors are on their annual trek to compete against the WHL teams out west.  They'll stop for games in Edmonton and Medicine Hat on the way home.  It'll be 7 games in 12 nights for our boys.  That is a tough stretch.

There are 10 teams out west these days but there was a total of 6 when I took my first trip in '86-'87 with just three Canadian teams in Victoria, Kamloops and New Westminster.  The only place with a modern arena was Portland.  The rest were old school "barns".  In fact, they called the Spokane Coliseum "The Boone Street Barn".  It was awesome.  The boards were wooden.  They'd bend and rattle and shake every time a player ran into them.  You could hear it on the radio. 

The Seattle Centre Arena was built in 1927.  The ice surface was almost rectangular with chicken wire fencing behind the nets where they have plexi-glass these days.  The boys loved it.  So did I.  

Those days are long gone.  I consider myself fortunate to have been there and done that.

Close Ties

Optimistic, maybe "cautiously" optimistic - a good way to describe a number of economic outlooks we've been hearing about this month.  Financial experts, including our Aaron Ruston from Purposed Financial, are saying 2019 will be a year of economic growth in Canada and the United States.

As I read about consumer prices in the USA on the weekend I took note of how closely tied the Canadian and American economies are.  

Consumer prices in the US were down last month thanks to lower gas prices and the prices of airfare, mobile phone plans and used cars coming down.  You've noticed the price of gas coming down here at home, right?

You've noticed the price of food going up, too?  Increases for fruit and vegetables are partly to blame for food costs going up almost a half a percentage point - the largest increase in over 4 years.

I felt that last week when I bought 3 American-grown oranges and a head of lettuce for about $9.00.  Ouch.

Go Warrior Go!

The critics will be out tonight telling their friends and fellow fans we should have traded Josh Brook for the future of the franchise.  

Moose Jaw Warriors GM Alan Millar chose to keep our captain.  You can bet at least a couple of upper echelon WHL teams made offers to get him.  Millar chose to make our team better right now, acquiring two talented players, adding scoring and depth.  We picked up Swift Current Broncos' leading scorer Alec Zawatzky and forward Carson Denomie from Kamloops.

This gives our hockey team three solid forward lines that can compete with most in the league and, perhaps, take a shot at knocking off the 1st place Prince Albert Raiders when the playoffs roll around.

If he had traded our captain you can bet the players on our team would have seen that as giving up on them and the season.  Instead, I think our top guys will take this as a vote of confidence and play with passion down the home stretch and into the playoffs.

For what it's worth, I'm a believer.

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