Family building, more than house building, is behind Penhold’s steady growth, says the mayor.
The town’s recent census pegs the population at 3,563, up 8.7 per cent since the last count during the 2016 federal census.
Mayor Mike Yargeau said demographics have helped the community to continue to grow despite a listless economy.
“We’re one of the youngest communities in central Alberta, so we’re constantly growing no matter how many houses are being built in town.
“Everybody has young families. We’re just a growing community, no matter what is happening around us.”
With housing starts slowing, the town could not depend on a significant influx of new home buyers to boost growth. That’s where the home-grown growth comes in.
Penhold went through a significant growth spurt between the 2011 and 2016 federal censuses, growing by 38 per cent to 3,277 over that stretch.
Sustaining that kind of population boom in a recession would be a tall order, but nearly nine per cent growth over the past three years is a good sign.
“It’s a really attractive place for people to move to. People see that when they’re looking for houses and see what kind of community we have.
“I think we’ll see more housing starts by the end of this year than last year. The home builders are a little more optimistic, and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.”
Melcor Developments Ltd. has proposed a 35-townhouse project near Waskasoo Avenue north of Highway 42.
To the east next to Highway 2, Red Deer County is developing a rest stop commercial development called Junction 42 that will have gas stations, restaurants and other services for the travelling public.
Yargeau expects there will be spinoffs for Penhold.
“That’s going to lead a lot of really positive things for Penhold too.
“We’re the next quarter section over. We’re definitely excited about the growth for commercial opportunities there.”