Residential Development Opportunity
The population of the Slave Lake Region continues to grow and diversify and new residential development and investment is needed to keep pace with demand. A comprehensive study is currently being completed which outlines the residential needs for the region, identifying that 650 ownership housing units and 300 rental housing units are needed over the next 10 years. Opportunities not only exist in meeting these projections, but also providing short-term and flexible leasing options to many in the area for the shadow and seasonal population (approximately 15% above the current population). Developing worker-based lodging for local and short-term workers, as well as student lodging for those learners that attend Northern Lakes College for short-term courses, has a high need in the region.
The Slave Lake Region is positioned for growth in residential development with available land both within the urban area of Slave Lake and in the outlying hamlets. In Slave Lake there are more than 18 hectares (46 acres) readily available for development with favourable single-family, medium and high density zoning. In the Southshore area there are numerous serviced lots available as well as 170 hectares (400 acres) available for new country residential development; in Smith there are serviced and unserviced lots available and 45 hectares (110 acres) available for new single family and medium density residential development.
Commercial and Retail Opportunity
Growth in the retail industry of Slave Lake has been tremendous over the past 10 years with a large brand-name development called Cornerstone (including retailers such as Walmart, Canadian Tire, Tim Hortons, Shoppers Drug Mart and more), as well as increased independent and creative businesses in the downtown core. Due to the population growth in new immigrants and those from other parts of Canada, opportunities exist in providing additional and diverse products and services, such as: clothing and shoe stores, health and beauty, cultural products, sports and recreation and an increase in the variety of eateries in the area.
Commercial and retail space is available in the downtown core of Slave Lake in existing buildings, as well as in the Sawridge Plaza. New developments can be accommodated along Highway 2 in Slave Lake or in the Cornerstone Shopping Centre; approximately 37 hectares (91 acres) in total are available. There is also raw land available in the Canyon Creek and Widewater area and in Smith to service the growing rural hamlets.
Light Industrial Opportunity
The Slave Lake Region is positioned for growth in the light industrial sector as the Pelican Lake Oilfield and the four forestry mills in the area are growing at a consistent rate. The Pelican Lake Oilfield is north-east of Slave Lake near Wabasca-Desmarais and is a part of the vast Athabasca Oilsands. The oilfield produces heavy petroleum and has the potential to be one of the largest deposits in Northern Alberta. As the oilfield expands, the opportunity exists for new operators to service the larger companies such as CNRL, Cenovus Energy, Penn West and more.The four forestry mills in the Slave Lake Region also provide opportunity as pulp, paper, plywood, oriented strand board and laminated veneer lumber are manufactured and distributed. Opportunities in the supply chain of the forestry industry are available, such as logging, hauling, distribution and more.
Land availability for new businesses includes few serviced parcels and approximately 24 hectares (60 acres) of raw land in the Town of Slave Lake. In the MD of Lesser Slave River a Light Industrial Residential District zoning was created to entice and facilitate light industrial businesses on 3-15 acre parcels with a residence.
With new recreational infrastructure and access to numerous lakes and rivers, the Slave Lake Region provides the platform for enterprising individuals to diversify the region’s tourism products to the nearby market of 1.5 million people. Tourism products such as recreation rentals, guided tours, a marina, and added diversity in accommodations are available opportunities.