Airdrie continues to see strong population growth, focuses on community lifestyle

Airdrie has come a long way from its railway village roots.

Located 10 minutes north of Calgary, the city’s population continued to boom in 2014, increasing by nearly 11 per cent to 54,891.

Since 2004, the booming community has more than doubled in size, with an average annual grown rate over the past five years of 7.6 per cent.

“We’ve had really strong [population growth over the last 10 years. We’ve averaged anywhere from eight to 10 per cent a year,” said Kent Rupert, economic development team leader for the City of Airdrie.

“We’re seeing more services out here. You look at our recreation centres and that type of thing – I think people are starting to see the type of lifestyle out here and [are] deciding that’s a good fit for them.”

At the hub of Airdrie’s recreational infrastructure is Genesis Place, dubbed by the City as a “lifecycle project for community activity.”

In April, council approved an increased budget for the project on the city’s east side to include resurfacing

the pool basins, pool deck, change rooms and steam room.

“The Genesis Place aquatics area is highly valued in our community, and the closure for lifecycle retiling is important or proper care and maintenance of this facility,” said Greg Lockert, manager of Genesis Place.

“This project has been designed to complete the upkeep and minimize the inconvenience for our users.”

While the aquatics area is scheduled to be closed from Aug. 1 to Oct. 31, other facilities such as indoor fields, arenas, gym, dance studio, fitness centre and indoor track will remain open.

While ensuring the care of its recreation areas, the City is also working to ensure there’s breathing space for the city’s continued growth. In 2012, the Province approved a bid to annex 5,115 hectares of land from Rocky View County to support the increasing population. The annexed land is to the west, north and east of the city.

Tracy Corbett, manager of planning and sustainable development with the City of Airdrie, said the annexed land is intended to accommodate the city’s growth over the next 50 years.

“Plans for future growth will depend on market conditions – but more importantly – servicing provision,” she said. “The City is undertaking a Master Utility Study to determine the most technically and financially feasible means of extending servicing to newly annexed lands.

“We would not contemplate additional lands unless there was a strong economic development reason to do so.”