Blackfalds booming shows census

Blackfalds leads nation in growth among smaller communities

Blackfalds leads the nation in population growth among smaller communities.

Statistics Canada census results released on Wednesday shows Blackfalds population has soared 48.1 per cent, growing to 9,328 people last year from 6,300 in 2011, an increase of 48.1 per cent.

That gives the community bragging rights to top spot out of the top 25 fastest-growing communities over 5,000 people outside census metropolitan areas.

“It’s pretty exciting actually, and kind of rewarding,” said Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol on Wednesday.

“It kind of says some of the policy decisions we have made over the last 10 years have proven successful and made Blackfalds an attractive place to live.”

While there are always challenges coping with rapid growth “it’s a good problem to have,” said Stol.

The community has met its growth by building a major recreation facility, the Abbey Centre in recent years. A regional sewage line is also in the works after years of lobbying the province. While perhaps not a glamorous project, it is critical infrastructure for future growth.

Stol said the kind of exposure the community will get from its impressive growth will go a long way to attracting more commercial and industrial businesses.

Another rising population star in Central Alberta is Sylvan Lake, which was ranked seventh in the same top-25 list.

Sylvan Lake’s population hit 14,816 last year, up from 12,363 five years earlier, a growth rate of 19.9 per cent.

Mayor Sean McIntyre said the community has been growing steadily since the 1990s and he is not surprised by Statistics Canada’s tally.

“It’s nice to see the census numbers quantify that growth, specifically the numbers outlined that showed we maintained (an average annual) a growth rate of four per cent through 2016, which is positive news for us considering Alberta’s economic circumstances.”

McIntyre said the town has been working hard to make sure growth is managed in a sustainable way and the community is geared to meet the needs of its residents and the more than one million annual visitors.

Key plans have been updated, land has been annexed so the town has room to grow and significant efforts made on business attraction and retention.

On the recreational front, a $33.5-million recreational complex is weeks away from opening.

The province has recognized the pace of local growth with a new school and $2 million has been announced to go towards expanding medical care at the community’s health centre.

Just Posted

Red Deer College waiting for feds to finalize marijuana legalization

Like businesses, Alberta and municipal governments, Red Deer College is waiting for… Continue reading

Class size only part of the problem say Central Alberta teachers

Though the Alberta auditor general’s report points out that classroom sizes continue… Continue reading

Lacombe County promoting crime prevention measures

County pushing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles

Red Deer doctor concerned about patient transfers to rural hospitals

Family physician says the move creates less incentive for expansion at Red Deer hospital

Fire permit season begins in March

Earlier springs in last few years prompted Alberta government to move up fire permit season

WATCH: Red Deer’s River Bend upgrades officially open

River Bend Golf and Recreation Area is the latest venue to be… Continue reading

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Stores make push in scan and go tech, hope shoppers adopt it

NEW YORK — Shoppers at self-checkout lanes scanning all their groceries after… Continue reading

‘Stars seemed to have aligned’ for new Halifax CFL bid, commissioner says

HALIFAX — CFL fans in Halifax have been told the league is… Continue reading

The language of ‘Black Panther’? It’s real. Give it a try.

OTTAWA — The military’s top general has promised to get to the… Continue reading

New execution date set for Georgia’s ‘stocking strangler’

ATLANTA — A man known as the “stocking strangler,” who was convicted… Continue reading

Man says he kicked Chevy Chase in self-defence in dispute

SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. — A New York man says he kicked Chevy… Continue reading

Supporters of Tina Fontaine’s family march in Winnipeg to support her family

WINNIPEG — Hundreds marched through the streets of Winnipeg on Friday in… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month