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Fieldhouse gives Blackfalds record development year

Blackfalds’ new $15.3-million fieldhouse helped propel the community to a record year on the development front in 2012.

The town confirmed on Thursday that it issued 391 development and building permits last year, with these related to construction work valued at nearly $72 million. Both figures were all-time highs for Blackfalds, which has a population of about 7,000.

“It was a fantastic year for growth in the community,” said Mayor Melodie Stol.

Particularly encouraging was the approval of 206 new houses in 2012, a figure that marked a 58 per cent increase over the 130 houses authorized the previous year.

“We had a good inventory of lots in Blackfalds with a variety of developers — which really helps because then there’s competition between the land developers themselves — and then a good selection of home builders as well,” said Stol.

She added that the town has developed a reputation as a desirable place for families, especially with amenities like the new fieldhouse, which is under construction and will have a pool and fitness centre.

Blackfalds’ proximity to Red Deer is also a plus, said Stol.

The value of construction projects approved by the town last year was more than double the 2011 total of $33.7 million.

Residential work accounted for $45.5 million, up from $26.1 million in this category the previous year.

Commercial projects contributed $7.1 million, up from $3.8 million; and industrial permits made up $3.8 million of the 2012 total, an increase from $3.4 million. The fieldhouse represented almost all of the $15.6 million in work approved for public facilities, an improvement from $150,000 in 2011.

There were no permits related to agricultural facilities last year, as compared with one valued at $150,000 in 2011.

Stol said continued development along Hwy 2A helped inflate the commercial tally. The Blackfalds Veterinary Hospital building, Tim Hortons and Microtel Inns & Suites were among the projects approved there last year.

On the industrial front, Stol pointed to the recent approval of a bottle depot building as among the notable permits.

She said town officials are optimistic Blackfalds’ building boom will continue in 2013.

“The land developers and the home builders are set up for a good year again, I think.”

Such rapid growth can create challenges for a community, acknowledged Stol. But she’s optimistic these will be overcome.

“We hope that our plans are strong enough to carry us through.”



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