Town of Stettler looking to attract industrial businesses

The Town of Stettler is moving ahead with plans to attract industrial businesses to the community. The decision was made at the July 21 regular meeting of council.

Councillors heard a presentation on behalf of the Economic Development subcommittee, represented by Stacey Benjamin, executive director of the Stettler Regional Board of Trade.

Benjamin noted the subcommittee was recommending the town undertake a commercial market analysis to examine what types of business the community needed.

She stated there was a general feeling that industrial businesses would fill a need in the community.

“As identified at the Economic Development subcommittee meetings, a priority has been placed on recruiting commercial industry to the Town of Stettler,” stated council’s agenda memo.

“There has also been discussion as to what industries could be targeted for growth in our area. 

Furthermore, at the last meeting there was discussion regarding having a feasibility study and market analysis prepared to present to potential investors to show the viability of industry, particularly retail and restaurants, in the community.

“Two potential partners have been identified: The County of Stettler and The Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF). 

AREF was established to advance the real estate industry and strengthen Alberta’s communities by funding initiatives that fall under four pillars: community innovation, education and research, housing and land stewardship and environment. 

Our project ties into two of the pillars- community innovation and education and research.”

Benjamin stated the project would include a feasibility and gap analysis which would look at what retail and restaurant businesses would fill a need in Stettler, identify what industrial businesses would fill a gap, identify Stettler’s trading area and create an up-to-date community profile.

Benjamin noted a consultant would be hired to conduct the analysis, which would gather information not only from town residents and businesses, but County of Stettler as well.

“The final report will include market share analysis, including current retained spending in Stettler, quantify spending and retail/restaurant usage, retail market supply and future 10-year demand, list of potential retailers, information on the current trading area, including how residents spend and current community profile statistics,” stated the memo.

Benjamin stated a request for proposals would be prepared with a $36,000 budget.

Town chief administrative officer (CAO) Greg Switenky stated this item was not specifically budgeted but there were funds left from previous years that would cover it.

Coun. Al Campbell felt it was a great idea to find out what gaps exist in the community.

Coun. Gord Lawlor stated some of the information gathered might already be known by council, but it would be nice to have the data to back it up. 

“I think this is really something that will benefit,” said Lawlor.

Coun. Scott Pfeiffer added that having the report with accurate, recent data may also help prospective business owners obtain financing.

Councillors voted to proceed with a request for proposal for a commercial market analysis study with funding to come from the 2020 Planning Reserve account.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/East Central Alberta Review