July 10, 2019 | Gerald Vander Pyl
Q&A: Kent Rupert, Airdrie Economic Development team leader
Kent Rupert, team leader with Airdrie Economic Development, discusses the economic situation in Airdrie, the city's 10-year economic strategy, the most recent census and more.CREB®Now: What is the state of Airdrie's economy?
Rupert: In Airdrie, we sort of always just keep moving along.
Certainly, over the last three years, we have seen a decrease in some of our (economic indicator) numbers, but usually it's not drastic shifts – we're down a little bit or we're up a little bit.
Specifically, at the end of the second quarter in 2018, we had roughly 183 home-based businesses. In 2019, we saw that drop down to 164.
The good news is on the commercial-industrial side. We saw 52 projects in 2019 in the first two quarters, and only 36 in 2018.
So we've seen a bit of an incline on the commercial-industrial side, so that's exciting as we continue to build out some of our industrial parks and commercial areas.
Overall, I think our economy is doing fairly well when you consider what's happening in the Calgary region or even provincially.
CREB®Now: What are the main goals of Airdrie's recently implemented Economic Strategy 2018-2028?
Rupert: The 10-year economic strategy really outlines three objectives:
"Overall, I think our economy is doing fairly well when you consider what's happening in the Calgary region or even provincially."
"The Place to Be," to draw visitors and entrepreneurs and the best talent to Airdrie.
"Right for Business," to retain and grow Airdrie's businesses, and to attract new investment to our community.
And the third one is "A Connected Community," so really capitalize on Airdrie's location and future technologies.
We also have nine priorities and 11 key actions that are identified in the report to meet those objectives. Those can be found at www.airdrie.ca/economicstrategy.
CREB®Now: Is the 8.47-per-cent property tax increase approved for 2019 a possible cause for Concern?
Rupert: It's one of the higher increases we've had over the last number of years, but certainly, continuing to be Canada's fastest growing community, there are certain needs within the community.
A major part of (the tax increase) was around safety, so our police and fire, and also looking into the future for facilities our residents will need.
CREB®Now: What did the 2019 census reveal?
Rupert: This year, we saw our population increase 3.63 per cent, which takes us to 70,564 residents.
To put that in perspective, that's bringing in 6.8 new residents per day, versus last year, which was 8.7 people.
So (Airdrie) is still growing, and as we continue to grow I think we will see our percentage decrease. But Airdrie is still a very popular place for people to live and work.
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