Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole says with a focus on sports, a black sheep, and a student reading with an adult, the Canada 150 mural in Blackfalds is a true representation of the town. Photo by MAMTA LULLA/Advocate staff

Blackfalds’ country-leading growth has cooled

Town still growing and expects good things in 2019

Blackfalds, which once had bragging rights as the fastest growing community in the country, has not been immune to Alberta’s lingering economic downturn.

“Stats show our growth was down to just over two per cent. So, we’re not the fastest growing at two per cent,” said Mayor Richard Poole.

“There are other communities within the province, for whatever reason, are outgrowing us.”

Early 2017 was a heady time for Blackfalds. Statistics Canada numbers came out in February that showed the town had grown 48.1 per cent between 2011 and 2016, reaching a population of 9,328.

Those impressive numbers meant Blackfalds was not only Alberta’s population-growth leader, but No. 1 among the 25 fastest-growing communities in all of Canada with a population over 5,000 outside a metropolitan area.

A year later, the town had another reason to celebrate when its population topped 10,000.

Poole said all of the assets that made the town so popular — competitive housing prices, a good location and plenty of amenities — remain and he expects to see growth pick up this year.

“We’re not going to have a decrease in population. We’re going to continue growing.”

The town is not going to bother doing a census this year. The amount it would cost would likely be more than the additional grant money the town would get from per capita provincial funding programs.

Year-end development statistics reflect the cooling local economy in Blackfalds.

There were 26 permits worth $7.1 million issued last year for single-family homes, down from 73 permits worth $18.9 million in 2017.

Townhouse permits were also down, with 26 permits worth $3.6 million last year and 49 worth $7.4 million in 2017.

Overall, there were 251 permits issued worth $19.7 million, down from 376 worth $50.2 million.

Poole said the steep drops follow a very hot year for building in 2017.

“Last year, we really kind of had a boom year considering the economic realities around our community.”

That created plenty of housing stock that has not all sold yet.

“Right now, we have an opportunity in our community for anybody to come into our town and find a very beautiful house at a very reasonable cost,” he said.

“We’re expecting after these fill up, we’ll be again looking at development permits rebounding.”

“I am looking for a recovery to happen.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Young Blackfalds mother copes with double tragedies with community support

Three fundraisers are being held to help Alana Newbold and her children

Carjacking victim would stop to help again

Springbrook woman has some sympathy for carjacker

Red Deer’s crisis line workers are busy dealing with multiple emergencies

Callers need everything from mental health counselling to their basic needs met

Eckville man charged with child porn offences

Australian police provide tip

Eight arrested in RCMP stolen vehicle operation

Six stolen vehicles recovered and dozens of charges laid

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Edmonton Oilers fire general manager Peter Chiarelli: reports

EDMONTON — Peter Chiarelli has been fired as general manager of the… Continue reading

Canadian Milos Raonic has Australian Open run end in quarterfinals

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canadian Milos Raonic is done at the Australian Open… Continue reading

$20K pay gap between women, men in Canadian tech jobs

The report defines tech workers as people either producing or making extensive use of technology, regardless of industry

Two Quebec short-film directors mark first Oscar nominations together

TORONTO — Two Quebec filmmakers celebrated in solidarity on Tuesday after learning… Continue reading

Toronto illustrator teams up with Paul McCartney on children’s book

Toronto-based illustrator Kathryn Durst says she’s found a true collaborator in Paul… Continue reading

Catholic student says he didn’t disrespect Native American

Many saw the white teenagers, who had travelled to Washington for an anti-abortion rally, appearing to mock the Native Americans

Backlund scores OT winner for Calgary Flames in 3-2 win over Carolina Hurricanes

Flames 3, Hurricanes 2 (OT) CALGARY — Mikael Backlund scored 15 seconds… Continue reading

Glendening’s two-goal performance leads Red Wings past Oilers 3-2

Red Wings 3, Oilers 2 EDMONTON — Luke Glendening had a pair… Continue reading

Most Read