Earlier today, the City of Calgary’s new(er) city manager, Jeff Fielding, addressed the local homebuilding industry in a sold out event organized by the CHBA – Calgary Region. While acknowledging some of the strains to the City’s relationship with the local industry, Mr. Fielding delivered some welcome insights regarding the continued growth of the city.
Despite the massive flood of 2013 and although Calgary is currently directly affected by the flagging fortunes of Canada’s energy sector, this fast growing city retains top spot in the country for many rankings among major cities, including housing affordability, quality of life and population growth. With more than 50% of the city’s 260,000 new citizens in the last 10 years coming from outside Canada, Calgary’s population is much less vulnerable to contraction during the current economic slump than it has been in previous cyclical downturns.
Although the rate of population growth has slowed from its record levels over the past 2-3 years the City is preparing for continued population growth that will outpace the Canadian average over the next 5-10 years. Part of this preparation will involve the deployment of $10 billion in available capital spending which will be additional to the $5 billion Greenline LRT project, the $1.5 billion cancer centre and the $2 billion completion of the ring road, among other approved and funded capital projects.
In addition to the City’s improved awareness of, and commitment to help resolve the homebuilding industry’s key development constraints, it is clear that $20+ billion of capital spending over the next decade will be a significant catalyst to Calgary’s continued growth and development as a world-class city.