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Economic Directions [q1 2011]

Strathcona County Sherwood Park Alberta, Canada

EDT Direction

Strathcona County is a rapidly growing municipality with a plethora of opportunities for residential, commercial and industrial development. The Economic Development & Tourism (EDT) department is designed to augment growth and opportunities for the community through the encouragement of business attraction, retention and expansion.

» The new strategy is designed

to assist in achieving economic diversification, attract jobs and investment, retain and expand existing enterprises, and develop an agreement on the economic future.

2 | Economic Directions Q1 2011

Through the leadership of County Council and Executive Team, several forward thinking documents have been developed that guide the work of the EDT department: •

Strathcona County’s Strategic Plan serves as the foundation for which all County business plans and budgets are developed. This includes our overall strategic direction which outlines our vision for the future of the County, our goals as a municipality and the strategies we plan to use to achieve those goals.

The Municipal Development Plan (MDP) provides overarching direction for the orderly growth and development of the County as a whole over the next couple decades and beyond.

The Sustainability Frameworks ensure that the County develops in a manner that achieves a balance between economic prosperity, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship.

The Economic Development and Tourism Strategic Plan identifies our optimal areas for economic activity and articulates our key priorities moving forward to secure the long-term prosperity of Strathcona County.

With ongoing support from Strathcona County Council and under the direction of these guiding documents, the Economic Development & Tourism department is poised to play a major role in the continued growth of our thriving municipality.

Business Attraction, Retention & Expansion

The Economic Development & Tourism Strategic Plan 2011 – 2014 (finalized in 2010) determined the economic drivers as: Economic Driver: Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Economic Driver: Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and Manufacturing

 Economic Redistributors: Local Government Personal Services Retail

Economic Driver: Regional Government and Health Services

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A marketing plan containing six strategic objectives and 51 actions has been outlined with the intent of increasing the economic impact and County influence on investment and job creation on the following areas: •

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland & Value Added Manufacturing

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services


Lone Eagles

The new strategy is designed to assist in achieving economic diversification, attract jobs and investment, retain and expand existing enterprises, and develop an agreement on the economic future. Performance monitoring is a key function to measuring the results of an initiative and determining the degree of success by quantitative and qualitative means. EDT has a number of existing measurements and will be expanding in this area in 2011.

Economic Driver: Agriculture and Food Processing

Attraction, Retention and Expansion Business attraction, retention and expansion are the key pillars in Economic Development & Tourism. The department is committed to increasing the wealth of Strathcona County by promoting and providing the resources to attract targeted companies and industry sectors. By identifying opportunities and actions that could lead to expansion, diversification and job creation, EDT plays an instrumental role in helping local entrepreneurs be sustainable and competitive in the marketplace. The key is to focus on listening, nurturing and supporting local entrepreneurs.

Business Directory The Strathcona County Voluntary Business Directory serves to promote existing businesses, creates a resource of products and services available, and provides statistical information. Currently 1698 businesses are participating with a total of 19,964 full-time and 10,443 part-time jobs. Ninety-five businesses were added to the inventory in 2010 as well as 315 full- time and 235 part-time jobs.

Property Locator EDT maintains an inventory of vacant lease space and parcels with commercial and industrial zoning. The Property Locator is updated quarterly. As well as providing details and contacts on each location, this interactive tool provides maps, demographics, utility and land-use information. In 2011, the Property Locator will be upgraded with many new improved features for clients.

Website and Newsletter Companies research 80% of their site selection activities online. Website development and maintenance has been a key initiative to provide a comprehensive resource for business planning, growth and assistance in developing entrepreneurship. The EDT monthly newsletter is distributed to 300 subscribers highlighting business and tourism news and events.

Âť EDT plays an instrumental role in helping local entrepreneurs be sustainable and competitive.

4 | Economic Directions Q1 2011

» The key is to focus on listening, nurturing and supporting local entrepreneurs. Realtor and developer information sessions

Business Showcase Environmental Stewardship

EDT presented economic updates to local realtors who market and sell property in Strathcona County. Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association also hosted a yearly event to update 35 industrial players of which EDT played a major role.

A new business retention initiative was held in February with two local environmental businesses, H20 Logics and Clearflow Enviro Systems Group Inc., showcasing their leading edge solutions to 30 County staff.

Business visitations This program is a way to nurture and support existing businesses by addressing their urgent concerns, building relationships and assisting with their needs and issues. Currently 15-20 business visits are scheduled each year. In 2011, EDT will make substantial increases in the number of business visitations. Companies of all sizes (and from various industries) will be visited with surveys to gather data for economic trending and to better understand the issues of our local businesses.

Great Canadian Trade Fair and Sale EDT participated in the annual trade show with a “See you in Strathcona County” shopping campaign that promoted 33 tourism related businesses. The trade show has approximately 17,000 visitors each year.

Facilitation and consultation meetings EDT serves as a liaison between businesses and County departments to assess their development for zoning issues, servicing requirements, infrastructure, or levies. EDT also provides basic starting a business consultations with future business owners.

Business seminars The annual “Starting a business” seminar series was held in March with 21 participants. Topics included business ideas, marketing, business planning and financing. The Sherwood Park and District Chamber of Commerce partnered with EDT to host the session. Advico Professional Investment Services (Canada) Inc. and RBC Royal Bank were the major sponsors. 2010 Business Seminars sponsors:

Images: EDT booth at the 2010 Great Canadian Trade Fair & Sale (top); Jim Ewing of Pro-Vision Solutions facilitated the business seminars (right).

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Non-Residential Development

Business Establishments

Non-Residential Permits

Most sectors in the business community in Strathcona County continue to grow. From June 2009 to December 2010, the number of business establishments located in Strathcona County increased by 334 to a total of 7,943 businesses or an increase of 4.3%. The number of businesses with employees increased by 137 companies in 2010.

Permits for non-residential construction stayed strong through 2010 with 75 new buildings and 102 additions with a combined value of $105.4 million dollars.




Strong Growth Sectors: Change



Real Estate, Rental and Leasing


Professional, Scientific and Technical Services


Health Care and Social Assistance


Other Services (Except public administration)


Challenged Sectors:

150 46.4 ($) Millions











8.5 18.2

Information Services








15.4 87.1




19.2 47.8








Industrial Improvements / Additions

(Statistics Canada – Canadian Business Patterns )

New Industrial Buildings Commercial / Institutional Improvements / Additions New Commercial / Institutional Buildings

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Vacancy and Lease Rates

Retail Market Analysis

Industrial Space1 Region

Vacancy rate

Greater Edmonton


Sherwood Park



Lease rate ( /sq. ft)

Greater Edmonton

$9 – $12

Sherwood Park

$10.75 – $15

Office Space2 Region

Vacancy rate

Downtown Edmonton


Suburban Edmonton


Sherwood Park



Lease rate ( /sq. ft)

Downtown Edmonton

$20 – $22

Suburban Edmonton

$12 – $16

Sherwood Park

$14 – $16

We anticipate continued growth in the retail commercial and service sector through 2011. The need is identified in the recently completed Retail Market Analysis. This report indicates that strong population growth and above average household incomes will continue to drive further growth in Strathcona County. We project that another half a million square feet of retail and services commercial space will be built over the next few years. The report also indicates that the market can support the following types of companies:

Commercial Space



Vacancy rate

Greater Edmonton


Sherwood Park



Lease rate ( /sq. ft)

Greater Edmonton


Sherwood Park


Colliers International: CB Richard Ellis:

1-2 3

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The entire Retail Market Analysis can be found on the Economic Development webpage:

Industrial Development

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region and one of the world’s most attractive locations for petrochemical, chemical, and oil and gas investments. The Heartland is a geographic area that spans 582 km2 across five municipalities. Strathcona County is a proud founding member of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association.

The Heartland brings together municipal plans and policies that encourage, facilitate and plan industrial development using an eco-industrial philosophy. The goal is to ensure that heavy industrial development is handled in a manner that reflects the interests of the community, the environment and industry, while contributing positively to partner communities and resident quality of life. Despite a recent downturn in the economy, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, and Strathcona County in particular, remain confident that we are well situated for continued, sustainable heavy industrial development into the future. Working diligently with our Heartland partners, the Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada, we will ensure that the potential for longterm prosperity comes to fruition.

For more information, visit:

» Shell Scotford Upgrader Expansion Phase One was the largest union construction project in Canada in 2010.

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Heartland Projects Shell Scotford Upgrader Expansion Phase One

Construction began in 2006 and fully operational in 2011

Increased upgrading capacity by 100,000 bpd up to 255,000 bpd

Capital investment estimated at $2.8 billion

Largest union construction project in Canada

Peak construction workforce of 12,000 workers

In excess of 150 buses, at construction peak, transporting workers to the site

Shell is not proceeding with their regulatory review process for future expansions at this time

Total E&P Canada Ltd. Receives ERCB Approval

In September 2010, Total received its ERCB approval to move ahead with its upgrader in Strathcona County

Project has been put on hold for now due to Total focusing on its strategic partnership with Suncor in Northern Alberta

Project will be re-evaluated in the future and decisions will be based on market conditions

Other Industrial Development

Other Heartland Projects include: •

Air Liquide Pipeline Expansion Project

Federal Power Combustion Unit purchased land in the Heartland

Air Products Pipeline Expansion Project

BA Energy

Gulf Chemical

CN Rail Logistics Centre

CP Rail Logistics Centre

Keyera Condensate Pipeline Expansion Project

Kinder Morgan

King Tech Maple Resources

Shell Quest CO2 Pipeline

Statoil Canada Ltd.

Enbridge Pipelines

Enhance Energy CO2 Pipeline

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Laurin Industrial

In addition to the work in the Heartland region, Strathcona County is very active when it comes to the promotion of its light and medium industrial areas. While the County possesses several business parks that have varying degrees of zoning, land availability and opportunity, the Laurin Industrial Park is our newest industrial subdivision. With a few lots still available, it has quickly become one of the most exciting opportunities for industrial growth and expansion in Strathcona County.

Residential Development Based on building permits issued, residential construction activity is showing a strong recovery since the downturn in 2008. The chart below (left) shows 2010 urban residential permit values to be back to 2006 levels while the rural numbers are holding steady, comparable to 2005 – 2006 levels.


The chart below (right) shows the number of residential units permits have been issued by building type in urban and rural settings. Permits for multi-family apartments account for most of the growth in numbers in 2010 with 257 permits for units being issued. This followed two years where no projects were started, which allowed time for absorption from busy years in 2006 and 2007. Urban single-family starts along with townhome starts prove to be good economic indicators.

Residential Permit Values 102.6


Residential Unit Building Permits by Type





196 30







64.22 166.24







Number of units

($) Millions





71 140




72 257




97 8 46





77 80




16 40


25 13 54









2005 Rural


2007 Urban





2005 Rural






Urban Singles 10 | Economic Directions Q1 2011



The CMHC Residential Construction Digest reports based on actual numbers rather than permits issued. Residential construction remains strong in Strathcona County. 67% of units are sold by the time they are completed. Seldom do new units remain on the market longer than 4 months after completion: Housing Starts (Units)




Single Family




Multi Family




Total Units




Single Family




Multi Family




Total Residential




Single Family




Multi Family




Total Residential




Completions (Units)

Under Construction (Units)

CMHC also tracks the rental market. Strathcona County’s rental market remains very tight with the lowest vacancy rate of nineteen reporting districts in the Edmonton region. Rental Information



Average Apartment Rent



Apartment Vacancy Rate



Townhome Vacancy Rate



Single Family Residential Lot Inventory The Edmonton Housing Research Corporation tracks residential lot inventories. Sherwood Park has 595 vacant lots in inventory and another 70 presently under development as of December 31st, 2010 providing an estimated 1.4 year supply of serviced lots. This compares to 1.9 year supply for the entire Edmonton Region.

Single Family Resale Market

Complete & Unabsorbed (Units) Single Family




Multi Family




Total Residential




New Dwelling Units Absorbed in 2010 Single Family




Multi Family




Total Residential




New Single Family Absorbed in 2010 by House Style Style

No. Absorbed

Average Value




Split Level



Two Storey









The resale market comparisons depend on a point in time comparison. The following are comparisons of the average February 2011 sale price compared to February previous years: February 2010


February 2009


February 2008


February 2007


February 2006


The difference in the average sale price as of December 2010 was $32,000 higher than the average house price in Edmonton. The average resale house price in February 2011 was $409,994.4 The number of sales over the past six months is down 6.5% from the same period in the previous year.


11 | Economic Directions Q1 2011

Lorenz & Team Realty Group


In 2010, Economic Development and Tourism (EDT) continued to market Strathcona County’s unique blend of urban flair and rural flavour. EDT advertised in many major publications to give attention to our vast array of events, historical sites and natural features. As a result, overall attendance of events showed a marked increase. The department continued to work closely with external partners like the Edmonton Regional Tourism Group, Edmonton Tourism, and Travel Alberta to ensure regional events could be brought to residents of Strathcona County.

The Tomato Fare, Christmas in the Heartland, and Canadian Pacific Holiday Train are tourism highlights of 2010 year. See details of each below: The Tomato Fare, in partnership with the Edmonton Regional Tourism Group (ERTG) and Travel Alberta, was a one day event focused on celebrating the versatility of the tomato, paired with fresh local produce, and transformed into culinary delights by talented regional chefs. This year, Barr Estate Winery (Strathcona County’s first winery) showcased their local raspberry and rhubarb wines. The event saw an 8% increase in attendance over the previous year! The event will continue into its third year this summer: EDT and ERTG are currently underway with the coordination and planning of the event, be sure to stay tuned and stay hungry!

Images: Canada Day celebrations at Broadmoor Lake (top); Tomato Fare (bottom).

12 | Economic Directions Q1 2011

Âť The department continued to work closely with external partners like the Edmonton Regional Tourism Group, Edmonton Tourism, and Travel Alberta to ensure regional events could be brought to residents of Strathcona County.

An event with Canadian Pacific Railway took Josephburg over this year. The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train featuring musical guests, The Odds, raised awareness and collected donations for the Food Bank. EDT coordinated Corporate Planning, Engineering & Environmental Planning, Recreation, Parks and Culture, Strathcona Emergency Services, RCMP, Transportation and Agricultural Services, and Utilities to ensure the success of the event. CP Rail presented the local food banks with a cheque for three thousand dollars and donations from over 1500 people who attended. This event comes to Josephburg every second year, you can be sure EDT will be there to support our local food banks and CP with this great fun-filled family event!

EDT and various partners coordinated, organized, and marketed Christmas in the Heartland, a spectacular showcase of rural flavour and hospitality in the holiday season. Event activities ran at eight different venues, each a short drive apart. Highlights included: free sleigh rides, choosing your own Christmas tree, a display of over 500 Christmas nativity scenes and a nutcracker display. Ice carving competitions at six of the locations were an alternate feature, with participants involved and engaged in the judging of the best sculpture. Christmas markets with hand-crafted treasures and unique works of art, preserves, and even baking awaited those who came out. The day culminated with the light-up of a 60 foot Christmas tree on the Heartland Hall tower as well as a fireworks display. Planning for 2011’s Christmas is currently underway and will be sure to be even more successful!

Images: Christmas in the Heartland: sleigh rides at Bethany Lutheran Church (left), Heartland Hall light-up (right, top); Heartland Hall festivities (right, bottom).

13 | Economic Directions Q1 2011

Community Engagement

EDT maintained a presence in the region by participating in the Sherwood Park and District Trade Fair and Sale, providing updates to the community, attending regional community focus groups and workshops, networking sessions, and presentations on the region’s and County’s economy. The department also continues to engage partners and interested stakeholders through its e-newsletter, providing information on current economic development initiatives and programs in the County.

Images: Centre in the Park Grand Opening (Dec. 5, 2010)

14 | Economic Directions Q1 2011

As part of our work with Economic Development associations, Strathcona County hosted three case studies with the first year students from the University of Waterloo on Cambrian Lands Industrial Park analysis, Local Food Initiatives in Strathcona County, and Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Communications. EDT will host these again in late spring of 2011 in order to showcase activity in the County and its relevance to the whole of Economic Development in Canada. As the department concentrates on its newly adopted strategic plan, focus will be given to projects which include (but are not limited to): •

The Capital Regional Local Food Initiative

Green Hectares – encouraging youth entrepreneurship in Agriculture

Work with Agricultural Societies

Promotion and coordination of County events

Promoting the business benefits of locating in Strathcona County

Encouraging the growth of the creative industry

Working to further integrate arts and culture into the economy

Marketing and partnership initiatives with Elk Island National Park, Cooking Lake Blackfoot Recreation Area, Minisktik Lake Game and Bird Sanctuary, the Strathcona Wilderness Centre, Strathcona County Museum and Archives, and The Beaver Hills Initiative continues into the new year, showcasing the unique blend of rural and urban retreats in Strathcona County.


EDT Partners and Associations


Provincial / National


AIHA Alberta’s Industrial Heartland

EDA Economic Developers of Alberta

BHI Beaver Hills Initiative Association

EDAC Economic Developer Association of Canada

IABC International Association of Business Communicators

ERTG Edmonton Regional Tourism Group ESNA Economic Society of Northern Alberta

CERI Canadian Energy Research Institute Government of Alberta

Elk Island Community Futures

Government of Canada

GEEDT Greater Edmonton Economic Development Team

REDA Regional Economic Development Association

GERC Greater Edmonton Regional Chambers of Commerce

TIAC Tourism Industry Association of Canada

Labour GEEDT Labour Committee

Travel Alberta

ICSC International Council for Shopping Centre Developers IEDC International Economic Development Council PNEDC Pacific Northwest Economic Development Council

Yellowhead Trans-Canada

Sherwood Park & District Chamber of Commerce UDI National Council for Urban Design Institute TPC Tourism Partnership Council

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Strathcona County Economic Development and Tourism 2001 Sherwood Drive Sherwood Park, Alberta Canada T8A 3W7 Phone: 780-464-8095 Fax: 780-464-8444 Email:

Strathcona County - Economic Directions 2011