It’s boom time in Blackfalds.
The town announced on Friday that it is celebrating its most active development year in history.
A record $75.5 million in development and building permits were issued last year. In all, 520 permits were issued.
That is nearly 33 per cent more than the 391 permits issued in 2012. The total value of permits was $72 million, but that included about $15 million for the town’s new recreation facility.
Records were also set in residential housing, with 282 permits issued last year compared with 206 in 2012. The dollar value of permits was up $3.5 million over the $45.5 million posted in 2012.
To get a clearer sense of how hot the local housing market is, consider that in 2011, 130 housing permits worth $26.1 million were issued.
Mayor Melodie Stol said the community owes much of its success to its location.
“Central Alberta in general is quite popular. We have a great location within the province of Alberta and there’s been a healthy economy in this area and there’s lots going on in Central Alberta.”
Blackfalds also has much to offer. Its lot prices are typically lower than Sylvan Lake or Red Deer and there is a wide variety of lot sizes, price points and builders for home buyers to choose from, said Stol.
“I would also say that Blackfalds is investing in some of those community amenities that people are looking for.”
The $17.3-million Abbey Master Builder Centre, which features a fieldhouse, gym, fitness centre, walking track, indoor playground and meeting areas, is due to open in mid-March.
While Blackfalds has a reputation as a bedroom community, as it develops more jobs are being created locally. It also serves as a good family community for those employed in the oilpatch and similar industries where their work may be far afield.
Stol said while she’s not sure the town can top last year’s growth she doesn’t see any signs of momentum slowing.
“That’s a pretty phenomenal number that we saw in 2013. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it came close to those numbers next year.”