Cranbrook City Hall. Townsman file photo.

City trumpets record year for economic development

The city is touting 2020 as a banner year for economic development in spite of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Construction and development drove much of that economic activity, as the city reports a record-breaking $93 million in building permits, from housing projects such as the Rockyview development on Innes Ave, new student housing facilities at the College of the Rockies and a new seniors independent living facility, among others.

“Over the last five years, we’ve seen a 433 percent increase in building permit values, resulting in $245 million in building permits for the City, a large portion of which have been focused on ensuring there are housing options for all,” says Mayor Lee Pratt, in a press release. “By way of affordable and multi-family developments, we are paving the way for future generations to live and work in Cranbrook.”

Cranbrook is growing as people migrate from larger urban centres into smaller communities, according to the city.

“2021 is setting up as another great year. We will be adding additional residential units and have new jobs set to begin – the timing has been really good for us,” Mayor Pratt said. “Our Planning and Development Services team has really answered the call being able to process development permits and rezoning applications in under 12 months. It’s a team that is well organized.”

“Experts often talk about how challenges and hurdles can provide the very best lessons, and 2020 has taught all of us in Cranbrook, that we are resilient, determined and above all, a team. I want to give my heartfelt thanks to everyone who lives, works or travels to our beautiful city. It continues to be an honour to serve such a wonderful community, and I look forward to whatever 2021 brings.”

During a recent city council meeting, administration staff presented some of the economic data and unveiled a new website, designed to attract investment and economic development in Cranbrook.

Additionally, the city has launched the Cranbrook Innovation Initiative, which is aimed at encouraging the growth of emerging technologies and commercializing research and development of sectors such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous vehicles, clean energy and more.

“We have a lot of exciting things planned in 2021 and ‘Choose Cranbrook’ is the first in a series of initiatives that are designed to attract innovation and investment,” said Darren Brewer, Business Development Officer for the City of Cranbrook.

“We are working hard preparing to host investment attraction events where we will launch the Cranbrook Innovation Initiative, a bold new vision for our economy. Cranbrook was built by risk-takers and entrepreneurs and we want to continue to build on that. 2021 is a unique year where communities like Cranbrook can compete with tier 1-2 municipalities for investment and workforce attraction. We have a great story to tell.”

The city has also been awarded a federal grant to host two virtual investment attraction events this year, one specific to innovation of energy and mining sector, while the other will focus on technology clusters.

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