Barry Klatt

Barry Klatt

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There are few places in the world where workers are sought after more than in Alberta, but, even here, there
is sought after, and then there is sought after. Because, when it comes to good work finding you, it’s
also a question of how old you are, where in the province you work, and what skills you bring.


Unemployment in youth (that is, those between ages 15 and 24) typically rises faster than in the rest of the
population during a slowdown, and also takes longer to come down. Why? It’s the age-old story we’re seeing
again in the current business cycle: older workers, with their experience, tend to be more productive. As of
September, youth unemployment stood at 10 per cent, more than double the 4.6 per cent provincial average.


Geography plays a role, too. Alberta is roughly split up into six economic regions. Currently, the lowest three-month moving average unemployment rate, at 2.8 per cent, belongs to Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House. Surprisingly, the region with the highest unemployment rate is Calgary, at 5.1 per cent.


And industry matters. Over the year, the oil and gas sector has led the way, adding nearly 25,000 workers. At the other end of the equation, the wholesale and retail trades have shed 12,000 workers. If you’re in the first group, that’s good news, given how much oil and gas wages ($1,986/week) are above the provincial average


Alberta Employment Change by Industry, Sept 2012 over Sept 2011





The amount of real estate development within Calgary and just north of the city limits is quite amazing - particularly in the area east of CrossIron Mills shopping centre.


The shopping centre has done well since it opened in 2009, now boasting 200 stores made much more accessible since the opening of Stoney Trail.


Since then, more shopping opportunities are available at Costco and Lowe's to the north of the original centre up to the intersection of the north/ south major corridor and Highway 566 at Balzac.


I hear that the adjacent lands planned as a thoroughbred racetrack and entertainment centre may still be developed with a less-grand vision, but still to include a hotel and casino.


Immediately to the east along 566 is the new Coptic Church and Wagon Wheel Industrial Park and across the road, Rocky View County is planning to build its new administrative offices.


The next large property under development is High Plains Industrial Park where the massive Target distribution centre is under construction. Exterior walls are up for the facility, which will contain 1.3 million square feet under one roof. The centre will serve Western Canada and is scheduled to be fully operational within the next six months.


It sits on a 32-hectare parcel on the south portion of the 388 hectares that make up High Plains, which offers parcels of land from 1.6 to 32 hectares.


The development area was assembled to design a unique, master-planned medium-to high-density industrial park by an investment partnership that includes Highland Stock Farm and CLT Contracting.


It is a fully serviced, architecturally controlled development being marketed by Wayne Hill, associate broker of Target Realty, who has specialized for the past 20 years in land development for industrial and commercial uses including car dealerships, hotels and design-build projects.


He tells me that interest is high in Phase 2 of High Plains and two parcels are conditionally sold. Major attractions, according to Hill, are the opportunities to purchase fully serviced lots much cheaper than within Calgary, in the municipality where there are lower property taxes and no business tax.


Another plus is that the High Plains community will have access to fully reusable water. A jointventure partnership has been established with Olds College to reclaim and upgrade storm water for use within the park - an industry first.


High Plains is attracting lots of attention and the whole area is buzzing with activity. Besides the racetrack possibility, WalMart's 500,000-square-foot freezer facility is complete; Hopewell, Bentall, WAM, Oxford and Melton have developable lands nearby and we can expect residential to be built on the west side of the highway north of 566 all the way to Airdrie.

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