The Portage and District Chamber of Commerce president, Guy Moffat, issued a statement last Wednesday regarding the City of Portage a Prairie's 2024 budget.

In the press release, Moffat explains that the business community of Portage has been faced with a list of challenges over the last handful of years, including the implementation of precautions during the pandemic to keep their customers safe, increased competition with more businesses moving to online shopping options, and reduced access from Saskatchewan Avenue construction.

"Most recently, local businesses have been experiencing increased costs due to inflation that is reaching 30-year high levels, coupled with reduced consumer spending," says Moffat. "Our local government has set out an ambitious budget for 2024 that will see the conclusion of a 41-million-dollar upgrade to our main street that will make our city more aesthetically appealing to shoppers who are local, as well as visiting our city, and vastly improving pedestrian and active transportation access."

The city's commitment to investments in the Koko Platz Recreation Centre, Junk Yard Dogs Cycle Park, the water pollution control facility, and water treatment plant are all are ways that the chamber sees the city continuing to attract and keeping local business.

One of the key areas that the chamber has been advocating for is the improvement of pedestrian safety in the commercial area on the west end. 

"Our city will be starting to address this by adding sidewalk to connect the new Saskatchewan Avenue West sidewalk to West Park School and the intersection access to Walmart."

The Community Safety Officer program providing relief to the local RCMP detachment and the increased investment in the Portage Storefront Improvement grant, increasing the number of eligible storefronts for the 2024 grant process, were also areas of excitement that Moffat shared during the statement.

"As our city grows, so do the demands of our municipal government staff to maintain and keep it moving forward, which is all an added expense."

The chamber president commends the city council and the mayor for accomplishing so much with a tax increase of 1.74 per cent in a climate where the national inflation rate is 3.1 per cent.

"Thank you to our City Council and Mayor Knox for your dedication to making our city great," notes Moffat in the release.