It is impossible to miss multiple construction sites when driving through Stettler, a visible sign of Stettler’s commercial health.
Numbers provided by the town show a healthy commercial growth, as well as industrial, institutional and residential growth.
This year to date there have been permits issued for 10 new homes, some single family dwellings and others trailers, to be built. When taking those numbers into consideration along with home sales, rentals, and transient oil industry employees, new families are choosing Stettler as a place to settle and call home.
Just outside of the town’s eastern border, the County of Stettler shows it is growing as well. A new PetroCanada gas station is in the final stages of construction. On the western side, there are new water stations being erected to serve those of the county who are off the water grid. The Shirley McClellan water line has recently reached Donalda and Big Valley.
In Stettler itself, in addition to new builds, several renovation permits were issued. Both commercial and residential permits were issued in the 10 months ending Oct. 31, showing that people are refurbishing the current structures as well as building new ones.
LeAnn Graham, planning and development officer for the town, said the numbers are on par with last year.
At the end of June, 2014’s permits had amassed just under a million in revenue, roughly $300,000 ahead of 2013.
However, some second-half permits in 2013 closed the gap. With only two months remaining in 2014, the town has issued $12,630,073 in permits, or roughly $200,000 less than last year.
Some of the large construction projects in town this year include an oilfield industry manufacturing site on Highway 56, just before the highway heads north out of the town, the new construction on the south end of Main Street, which includes the Sobeys liquor store, and exterior renovations to several sites on Main Street and the Tim Hortons on Highway 12.
On the south side of Highway 12, travelling west beyond Wal-Mart, construction is currently underway to lay in utilities such as water, electrical and sewer. According to Graham, the project is called the “Westgate Subdivision.”
It is a privately funded project, but is in a highway-commercial area which means it will be a commercial site. As part of the agreement between the developer and the town, the developer must put in the utilities.
“No confirmation (about the project’s purpose) can be made until the public documents are entered,” Graham said.
The development has taken up three lots, though, she noted. There is no current estimate on when the development will be complete.
So long as developers comply with the town’s bylaws and legal laws, the town has no say in what can or cannot be developed, Graham noted. The question came up when the Sobeys liquor store was being built on Main Street, adding another liquor store to Stettler’s staggeringly high tally. However, since then several liquor stores have closed.
“There are currently six liquor stores in Stettler,” Graham said. With Stettler’s population, that is about one store for every 1,000 people.