With a population approaching 1400 people, the town of Waldheim offers the best of both worlds, according to Waldheim Mayor John Bollinger.
“It’s a very healthy, growing community,” said Bollinger in an interview. “We have a lot of recreational amenities and a very vibrant business sector; lots of volunteer organizations and three welcoming churches. It’s a great place to live.”
Bollinger, a retired teacher who’s been mayor for the past seven years and a town councillor for 25 years prior to that, has seen a lot of changes over the decades. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is the community spirit.
“Over the past while we’ve gained a lot of new residents,” said Bollinger. “Many of them are young families. In the summer you see a lot of young moms with baby carriages, and there’s no shortage of kids in the playgrounds.
“I think many of the young people have roots in this area; they grew up here and moved away for a while, but then have returned here to settle and raise their families.”
Bollinger said about half the population works right in the community, while the rest commute to Saskatoon or other centres.
“We have three fairly large employers in town,” said Bollinger, including Christian Horizons, Mennonite Trust, and My Mutual. These are all very important to the town’s economic base. Plus we have many smaller businesses that make up our downtown core.”
Bollinger said Waldheim has plans to replace its existing water treatment plant.
“We’re looking at a project that’s likely in the neighbourhood of about $10 million,” said Bollinger. “We’ll be making application under the new Canada Builds program to cost-share the project with senior levels of government.”
Bollinger said the town has been planning for this project for the past six years, and funds are already in place in reserve accounts. However, some borrowing will also be necessary.
The proposed water treatment plant will use a reverse-osmosis system to treat water from the town’s half-dozen existing wells. The project will also include replacement of older two-inch water pipes with higher-capacity six-inch pipes.
Bollinger said a byelection for a town councillor is slated for May 1. Former councillor Melissa Kobylak resigned as a councillor in order to pursue training and certification as a municipal administrator. She is currently working as an intern in the Waldheim town office.
The town’s recreation centre, which includes a three-sheet curling rink and a hockey arena, recently benefited from a substantial grant from the Hepburn Co-op’s Legacy Fund.
The hockey arena is slated to receive a new score clock thanks to the generosity of a local business.
Bolllinger said the K-12 Waldheim School is making good use of two relocatable classrooms that were added to the building this past summer.
“Those classrooms were badly needed,” said Bollinger. “There are about 400 students in the school now. I taught there for 30 years, and in those days the most we had was about 250 students. So the new classrooms are a welcome addition, although I think a few more would also be nice.”
The changes made to the Pine Ridge Golf Course in Waldheim’s Valley Regional Park have been a good investment, said Bollinger.
“It used to be a sand green course,” he said. “Three years ago, it was converted to grass greens, but the first year we didn’t really get going until partway through the summer.
“So it’s really only been two full seasons with the grass greens, and it’s really boosted the number of golfers we see on the course.
“It’s not just people from Waldheim. We have a lot of folks that come from Warman, Martensville, and even Rosthern.
“It’s a mature, challenging course with lots of trees, and water-courses, and the fact that it’s a nine-hole course, rather than 18-holes, is actually a drawing card. “