Electricity distributor EQUS plans to build offices, a shop and fleet storage yard at Red Deer County’s Junction 42 development east of Penhold.
EQUS and the county announced on Monday that an agreement had been reached to buy just over seven acres at the Highway 2 commercial development. About 40 employees will work out of the site for EQUS, which provides co-operative electricity distribution services for more than 13,000 rural Alberta homes, farms and businesses, including those which have already set up shop at Junction 42.
“The location of this future EQUS facility will ensure that our central Alberta team is able to provide timely service to our members, while adding value to our community and our co-operative,” said EQUS CEO Andy Metzger in a statement announcing the land deal.
County Mayor Jim Wood said he was pleased that EQUS chose Junction 42 for its new site, adding it will be an ideal location for the company for serving its county members.
Site work for Junction 42 began in 2019 and the first businesses, Burger King, Tim Hortons and Petro-Canada opened their doors in early 2020. Since then, the development has expanded significantly and about 300,000 visitors are expected to stop there this year.
The success of the highway stopping point has prompted the county to begin expansion plans to the truck parking area. Money will be put aside in the 2023 budget to expand truck parking from the existing 48 stalls to more than 100, said assistant county manager Dave Dittrick.
“The new pad will be just east of the existing parking lot,” said Dittrick.
Another major project is also expected to be announced in the next few weeks. Details are under wraps for now, but it will be an agricultural value-added business on a 46-acre site near Springbrook.
EQUS is Canada’s largest member-owned utility. It provides electricity to members in 26 Alberta municipal districts and counties and has its headquarters in Innisfail.