'It's beyond time': Saskatoon-born actor Kim Coates shows support for Biggar revitalization project
SASKATOON -- A Saskatoon-born actor who has made his mark in Hollywood is showing his support for the Town of Biggar.
“This is about the streetscape. We need better sidewalks, we need flowers, we need some things to pop in that incredible community. It’s time. It’s beyond time,” Kim Coates said in a video posted to the town’s Facebook page.
The town is in the process of raising money for its revitalization project, which involves refurbishing Main Street and transforming the Canadian National Railway grounds into a multi-use park with a market area, festival stage and historic garden.
Coates, who has appeared in several movies and television shows including Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down, CSI, Sons of Anarchy and Bad Blood, said Biggar is his favourite town.
He started off his video repeating the town’s slogan, “New York is big, but this is Biggar,” with a smile.
“I remember when I was a little whippersnapper Rider fan in my mom’s car, Joyce Coates, with pop when he was alive and my brothers going to see my uncle Mort and aunt Eleanor and their kids Cindy, Jordy and Connie and all the pigs and the chickens and the cows out in Springwater, going through Biggar and seeing grandma,” Coates said.
While Coates said he loves many things about the town, he said it could use a facelift.
D’Shae Bussiere, community development officer for the Town of Biggar, said the revitalization plan seeks to make the downtown more inviting for both residents and visitors.
“Coming in from Highway 14, having a very welcoming, a very strong gateway entry feature that really encourages people to come down and see what we have to offer in our downtown business core ... encouraging it to be a little more walkable, a little more intimate and encouraging some more outside events in our downtown area,” she said.
“We are very blessed to have many unique stores and shops and stuff like that, so really just capitalizing on that and then being able to showcase it in such a way.”
Bussiere added that the project also aims to celebrate the town’s history.
“A lot of people said they would love to see something happen with that CN area to commemorate that history as well as other histories in our area, like the agriculture industry for example, and using that area to kind of commemorate who we are and who we’re going to become,” she said.
“Some of our residents and visitors and past residents would consider us maybe a hidden gem just outside the city and now we’re working towards not being so hidden.”
Brett Barber, who owns New U Fitness & Nutrition in Biggar and is on the project’s stakeholder committee, said this will help attract even more visitors and prospective residents to the town.
“We have so much to offer, we have a lot of history here of athletes and world records that it just creates another tourist attraction and in return, we’ll help businesses grow and bring people to our community.”
The project will cost $5 million — $2.5 million will come from community fundraising, which will be matched by local residents Wayne and Ina Lou Brownlee.
So far, the town has raised $115,225, according to Bussiere.
Barber said Coates’ excitement for the project will help people realize how big of a project this is and in turn, help with the town’s fundraising efforts.
“For someone like Kim to take the time to share that and share the passion he has for his roots here really means a lot for people that are still around and people that have left and still have ties and connections to our town.”
Coates applauded the plan and is encouraging people to help raise money to make it happen.
“Let’s raise some money, let’s help raise a lot of money for you guys because a revitalization project for Biggar is exactly what that town needs.”