In 2015, the City of Fort Saskatchewan desired to understand what to expect in terms of future population growth, how to prepare for that growth, and what the effects of that growth may mean for the long term planning of the community.
In order to do this, a Growth Study was undertaken to assess current land supplies, and determine future land requirements.
The main focus of the Growth Study was to project Fort Saskatchewan’s growth over the next 50 years, and determine how much land will be required to accommodate growth both inside and outside of the existing boundaries. The Fort Saskatchewan Growth Study looked at both short and long-term growth objectives, the type of growth contemplated (i.e. residential, commercial, industrial, institutional), and provided rational for that growth.
What is a Growth Study and a Financial Impact Assessment?
The City undertook two studies. The first was a Growth Study and the second was a Financial Impact Analysis.
The Growth Study projected Fort Saskatchewan’s future growth over a 50-year period ending in 2066, and determined how much land will accommodate that growth (both inside and outside of the City’s current boundaries). The Growth Study looked at both short and long-term growth projections, contemplated different types of growth (i.e. residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional), and provided an assessment of future needs. The Growth Study also incorporated regional density targets and preliminary future land use. The Growth Study is available here.
The Financial Impact Analysis determined the financial impacts associated with growth within the current City boundary and the expansion areas over a 25-year period ending in 2041. The analysis included forecasted costs, recoveries, assessment, and tax impacts associated with the combined area of the current City and the expansion areas. The Financial Impact Analysis considered the impact on: (1) the City, (2) the County, and (3) landowners within the expansion areas. An executive summary of the Financial Impact Analysis is available here.
Why did Fort Saskatchewan do a growth study?
Fort Saskatchewan last adjusted its boundaries in 2002. In the time leading up to that adjustment, the City’s population growth had been relatively slow but stable, with an average annual growth rate between -0.8% and 1.6% (from 1986 to 2001). Since that time, Fort Saskatchewan’s growth rate has been significantly greater than anticipated. The City experienced an average annual growth rate of 2.7% between 2001 and 2006. That average growth rate nearly doubled to 5.0% between 2006 and 2011. It has since averaged 6.0% per annum between 2011 and 2015.
The unanticipated population growth and land consumption experienced since 2002 has depleted much of the City’s land supply sooner than expected, which has lead the City to ask a number of questions of itself. How much land supply remains within the City of Fort Saskatchewan? How much land supply does the City need to accommodate its future growth? Where does the City grow from here?
According to the Growth Study, how much land does Fort Saskatchewan require?
To accommodate Fort Saskatchewan’s growth for the next 50 years, the Growth Study projected that 2,007 ha of land (31 quarter sections) is required. This assumes a ‘medium growth scenario’ with a 2.2% population increase. The Growth Study also identified areas suitable for expansion.
If the City proceeds with annexation and the boundaries are adjusted, how will landowners in the expansion areas be impacted?
Annexation is a change in municipal jurisdiction. It is not expropriation. Land ownership does not change. If annexation is approved:
- lands in the expansion areas will receive services from the City of Fort Saskatchewan;
- land use and development approvals will be processed by the City; and
- landowners will pay municipal property taxes to the City of Fort Saskatchewan.
If annexation is approved, will landowners in the expansion areas be able to continue using their land in the same manner? Will they be forced to develop their land?
Landowners within the expansion areas will be able to continue to use their land in the same manner. It will be up to owners when and whether to develop their land.
How can I stay informed?
Updates will be posted on the City’s website at fortsask.ca/growthstudy.
Who do I contact if I have any questions about the process?
Growth Study inquiries:
General Manager of Infrastructure and Planning Services
City of Fort Saskatchewan
780.992.6243 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Director, Corporate Communications
City of Fort Saskatchewan
780.992.6155 / email@example.com