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Gap study focuses Lloyd outlook

By May 18, 2022No Comments
Katlin Ducherer, economic development officer for the City of Lloydminster, led off a positive economic update in the OTS Room of the Servus Sports Centre Tuesday morning. The event introduced a new gap analysis for local retail and commercial sectors to spur growth. Photo by Geoff Lee

 

The economy of Lloydminster is on the rebound with a new retail and commercial gap analysis under way in the city to help spur future growth in those sectors.

That was the message presented to developers, real estate agents and construction workers during an economic development update breakfast hosted by the city at the Servus Sports Centre on Tuesday morning.

“Based on the numbers we have, we’re really excited about 2022 and 2023,” said the city’s economic development officer, Katlin Ducherer.

City data show business licences have risen to 1,885 year-to-date compared to 1,753 in 2021, and hotel occupancy climbed to 43.7 per cent in the first quarter versus 26.7 a year ago.

Ducherer attributes the increase to the return of sports tournaments and industrial turnarounds.

About 37 percent of current business licences are issued to home-based businesses.

“I think Lloydminster in many ways has proven very resilient and based on our business licences and entrepreneurial spirit—some very positive growth for Lloydminster obviously with a number of challenges,” said Ducherer.

Speaker Christine Tucker, chief financial officer of Synergy Credit Union, put the local economy in context, noting Lloydminster’s rebound is part of a Conference Board of Canada projection for GDP growth of 5.5 per cent in 2022 in Saskatchewan and 5.9 per cent in Alberta. 

Lloydminster Mayor Gerald Aalbers also sees a lot of blue sky economic growth, citing a huge uptick in oil and gas activity and a rise in agriculture in the city and surrounding area as good signs.

“We see businesses expanding and growing. We see growth in both high schools today. There are just so many positive things going on right now,” said Aalbers.

The city has issued building permits valued at just over $40 million year-to-date.

Ducherer said the breakfast at the OTS Room was an opportunity to bring everyone together to project economic growth based on data the city collects and to introduce the retail gap analysis.

“That will be a really great tool for our developers and economic development,” she said.

Aalbers says the gap analysis will clearly demonstrate the opportunities that exist in the city that people don’t realize today or might have thought about but were looking for a little more detail.

“That will give them the information they need to move that home-based business to a business downtown or somewhere else in the city and bring other investors into the community and see an opportunity for an opening,” explained Aalbers.

The gap analysis for the city has just kicked off under the direction of FBM Planning Studios and its lead planner, Kieron Hunt, who spoke about the study.

Hunt says a retail gap analysis identifies how much people are spending in their community versus how much they are spending outside the community in various consumer and retail segments.

“It really identifies where people are spending their money and what opportunities there are to capture more of that spending locally,” he said.

“The end goal is to create an investment attraction strategy to show the opportunity of Lloydminster to external retailers looking at the market.”

It will also provide a platform of information for local businesses to set up business plans.  

“There are a significant number of home-based businesses,” said Hunt.

“A study like this can often help to give people that business metrics to apply for business loans and find spaces within the community,” he explained.

The study will also look at where vacancies are and what those vacancies are asking for lease rates to attract a home-based business or a relocating tenant or an outside investor to the local market. 

The gap study is in phase 1 to document and detail the existing retail inventory in the city.

FBM is also meeting with stakeholders to gather opinions and perspectives from the retailer market and will circulate an online survey to gather resident and non-resident views on the retail market. 

“We want to see what their spending habits are and challenges and opportunities,” he said.

Hunt likes what he sees for far with developments like the Canadian Tire relocation underway. 

“You can see on the west side of the city where there’s a significant growth of new retail. The downtown looks like it’s struggling a little bit,” said Hunt.

He says the study will also acknowledge the importance of the downtown. 

“The auto mile here is another significant piece. It looks like growth on the east side of the city is equally opportunistic,” added Hunt.

The city is also updating its Municipal Development Plan to guide future growth. A draft plan called Connection to Our Future will be released by December.