St. Albert Mayor Releases 20 Point Economic Development Plan

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ST. ALBERT, AB, Feb. 28, 2012 /CNW/ - St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse today released the 20 Point Plan for Economic Development to encourage commercial and light industrial growth in Alberta's sixth largest city.

"Among St. Albert Council's top priorities is fostering a climate for economic development particularly in the light industrial and commercial sectors," says Crouse. "Alberta has arguably the best economy anywhere in the world, so there is every reason to be optimistic and confident that St. Albert can and should more fully participate in the growth opportunities this presents."

The cornerstone of the 20 Point Plan is the proposed zoning of 620 ha (1,531 acres) of land as light industrial by mid-2012, which would almost double the inventory of light industrial land in the city. "It is critical that we have sizeable, contiguous parcels of land available, and Council will be voting on this issue in the spring. Our real challenge will be to engage landowners in discussions and plans about the merits of light industrial/commercial development, and the plan identifies this as a strategy in itself."

The 20 Point Plan also identifies a number of catalyst projects that are underway or planned, which will create the infrastructure required to support major economic development. Road projects, that improve transportation focus on connectivity in and out of St. Albert, include completing 2 km stretch of Ray Gibbon Drive to Villeneuve Road, completing LeClair Way which connects 184 Street to Ray Gibbon Drive, and Veness Road, which connects St. Albert to 142 Street in Edmonton, are all planned for 2012-2013. The City is also investing in upgrading its water and sewer infrastructure with the east water main installation scheduled for 2013.

Council instigated a major organizational focus on economic development in 2012, which resulted in the establishment of a new Economic Development Division. Recruitment for a General Manager is underway, with the focus of this position being to actively pursue appropriate investment and growth. The City also established a Growth Initiative Team in the Planning and Engineering Division to support development with the immediate attention to addressing structural barriers to economic development.

"We recognize that there are governance, policy and process matters that need to be addressed, which are captured in our 20 Point Plan. We have started the off-site levy review, our Letter of Credit Policy and Area Structure Plan process review," says Crouse. "If we are to be successful in seeing investment, we need to streamline and make the opportunity attractive."

The 20 Point Plan calls for creating an economy around the City's Botanical Arts brand. "The City embraces the environment, the arts and the concept of cultivating life. There are unique opportunities for businesses to gravitate to St. Albert and become part of our success story," says Crouse.

Alberta's buoyant economy presents a prime opportunity to make the community a more affordable place to live and work. "St. Albert is the best place in Canada to raise a family, yet the city has long carried the unenviable title of having among the highest property taxes in the province," adds Crouse. "The City has started work on developing a taxation policy, with the goal of creating a more balanced residential/non-residential assessment. What we offer is a win-win for businesses and residents: we want to create more opportunities for people to live and work here. There is a business opportunity in our mostly untapped workforce - about two-thirds of our residents commute to Edmonton - and we also have a highly educated population of residents."

The Mayor spoke at the annual City of St. Albert Business Breakfast to about 250 attendees.

Please see the Backgrounder for the full 20 Point Plan.

BACKGROUNDER

Economic Development 20-Point Plan

February 26, 2012

  1. Road Infrastructure
    • LeClair Way
    • Ray Gibbon Drive
    • Veness Road
    • Signage
  2. Water & Sewer Infrastructure
    • Oakmont East Water line - brings capacity for growth
    • Reservoir planning and funding
    • Water main over-sizing
    • Recently completed the sanitary from Mission to Riverside
  3. New Light Industrial/Business Park Designation
    • Determine location and amount
  4. Landowner Planning Collaboration Strategy
    • Zoning reviews
    • Levy review
  5. Standards Review
    • Investigation of standards for the new industrial and business park
    • Investigation of options for the South Riel lands
    • Review of standards for SAS lands
  6. Corporate Staff Support
    • Growth Initiative Team
    • Economic Development Division
    • Taxation Policy development
    • Innovative solutions
  7. Process and Policy Review
    • Letter of Credit Policy - already have begun changes
    • Land Advisory Committee potential (replacement for Municipal Planning Commission)
    • Area Structure Plan process
    • Allocation of Provincial Grant funds toward growth
  8. Business Attraction Strategy
    • Reviews with landowner
    • Assist developers in recruitment
    • Branding - Botanical Arts industry or commerce
    • Medical profession attraction
  9. Business Retention Strategy
    • Nurturing the businesses we have
    • Business interviews
    • Assist in the definition of Northern Alberta Business Incubator growth
    • Review of fees for fairness and equity
  10. Marketing; Collaboration Plan with Business
    • Billboards
    • Join-Us Campaign
    • Magazine Advertising
    • Multi-media
  11. Acceptance, and Welcoming
    • Signage - directional and way-finding
    • St. Albert Trail improvements
    • Parking improvements
  12. Downtown Vibrancy
    • Parking
    • Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan Progress
  13. Advocacy
    • Event hosting
    • Provincial Government - capital recreation and funding
    • Business attraction that require intervention
    • Trade shows
      • Council of Shopping Centres
      • Petrochemical Conference
      • Buyer Seller Forum
      • Building Solutions
      • Oil Sands Tradeshow
  14. Regional Planning
    • META Enterprise Initiative - Venture Capital Collaboration with Edmonton
    • Sturgeon County Collaboration
  15. Social Marketing Campaign
    • Business and Tourism website
    • Facebook use
    • Twitter use
    • Target advertising
    • Sell the image
    • Communicate the news
  16. Committees and Agencies
    • Brand Leadership Team
    • St. Albert Economic Development Advisory Committee (SAEDAC)
    • Chamber Support
  17. Secondary Supports
    • Affordable Housing
    • Public Transit
    • Park and Ride
    • Tourism initiatives
    • Businesses that support branding
    • Francophone High School
  18. Analytics; Monitoring and Reporting
    • Score Cards
    • Regular Reporting
    • Tracking and follow up
  19. Common Strategy - Constancy of Purpose
    • SAEDAC's role and assistance
    • Chamber role and assistance
    • UDI support, consultation and involvement and collaboration
    • Developer and homebuilder support
    • Staff, Council, the industry and the community moving the agenda forward
  20. Planning for beyond 2040

SOURCE City of St. Albert

For further information:

Nolan Crouse
Mayor
City of St. Albert
780-459-1606

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