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New business park is key to Fort Macleod’s growth

Fort Macleod is making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Or perhaps it is making lemonade after life, or rather Alberta Premier Alison Redford, handed the town lemons.
Regardless of the adage you choose, Fort Macleod is intent on putting to good use the 320 acres intended for the $122-million police college project the Redford government cancelled last year at the last minute.
“This is truly the key to the community’s future,” Mayor Shawn Patience said of a proposed new business park on the east side of town.
Plans for the business park displayed Wednesday at the Town of Fort Macleod open house show 19 lots on 100 acres in the first phase of Stage 1.
The lots range in size from 2.21 acres to 10.33 acres, and those lots can be subdivided into smaller parcels.
“We’ve got to do something with that property,” Patience said. “We don’t want it sitting there vacant and bare and full of weeds.”
Developing the business park and attracting companies will shape Fort Macleod’s future.
“If we can create employment out here we’ll increase the demand for housing and additional commercial services,” Patience said. “This really would seem to be the key to get started.”
The business park is designed to attract anything from manufacturing companies to warehouses.
“At this point we have very few limitations on this property,” Patience said.
Fort Macleod’s location at the crossroads of Highway 2 and Highway 3, and the presence of a rail line, lend the business park to a broad range of opportunities.
The increasing cost of industrial property across Alberta will also make Fort Macleod attractive to businesses.
The freedom of movement in a rural location, as opposed to inside a city, is another factor.
“We hope that the land prices are going to be attractive for this development,” Patience said. “I think they will be more than competitive.”
There are a few key elements that will allow Fort Macleod to keep lots prices low.
The $6-million for major infrastructure to service the business park came from the provincial government as part of its settlement with Fort Macleod for pulling the plug on the police college.
The land also belongs to the Town of Fort Macleod, so there were no costs involved in buying the property.
“We can use those two advantages to our favour,” Patience said. “The idea here isn’t to make a fortune on land sales, the idea would be to recover our investment and get some significant employment out there so the rest of the community grows off it.”
Patience said the Town of Fort Macleod has been lacking serviced land that can accommodate large industrial development.
“If somebody was in looking for 20 acres, we could provide them with 20 acres but there could be service issues with that,” Patience explained.
The business park will also be highly visible right off Highway 3, and that property has already received lots of attention as the proposed site of the police college.
The new business park takes away any limitations Fort Macleod had in past.
“If we filled that up with industrial development the employment in that area would be immense,” Patience said. “It’s a matter of getting the first one in and then building off it.”
Council has hired Twist Marketing to develop an marketing strategy.
“The hope is to get this to tender this summer and get it moving forward,” Patience said.
The designs for the first stage of Fort Macleod’s new business park were on display Wednesday during the open house at the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall.

1 Comments For This Post

  1. carey larson Says:

    So what are the lot prices? Come on, you need to provide people with more info if you expect them to move into your community. Why do facts always have to be hidden?