Growth and Development in Spruce Grove
Growth and development in Spruce Grove seems to be the love it or hate it issue for residents. Ask any resident about the growth Spruce Grove has seen and you’ll either get a strong “we need to stop growing so fast” or a “I’m excited to see all the new development coming to the Grove.” Many times, but not always, the opinion is dependent on whether the resident has been here for a long while, seeing the Grove grow from a sleepy little bedroom community of a few thousand to now a medium sized city in Alberta.
Watch my video on growth and development in Spruce Grove on my Facebook page.
Spruce Grove is Growing Fast
There is no doubt Spruce Grove is growing and growing fast. We’re one of the fastest growing cities in Canada and while growth has slowed somewhat, it’s still strong. New neighbourhoods are popping up, new phases in existing developments continue to be built and we have major proposals on the table for commercial development.
When I moved here in 1980, Spruce Grove was 6,000 people. We reached city status of 10,000 people in 1986. This year, our population is just under 36,000 people. It’s incredible growth as people look to move to communities that are affordable and safe.
Is there a happy medium to our growth? How can city council curb or effectively control the rate of growth so we can keep up with services and maintain that safe city feel?
Density and Growth to Meet Demand
We have residential neighbourhoods popping up fast and more densification happening- condos, apartment buildings, duplexes, triplexes and now zero lot lines are back to create more affordable options for residents looking to get into the housing market. But with the densification comes new problems that developers have to deal with and city council has to be aware of. Parking issues arise when there is less front yard to park in front of, roads feel narrower in new developments and of course even our garbage system makes the neighbourhoods feel crowded.
Pretty soon, if we’re not already dealing with it, is the idea of infill. The larger lots in our older neighbourhoods will become attractive for builders to split lots and build skinny homes or multiple unit dwellings on these large lots. We’re going to see a demand of secondary suites or alley lane access suites. How are we handling this? Are we prepared for this eventuality and being proactive with it rather than reactive?
So, the question is: what is Spruce Grove trying to be?
Residents here live in Spruce Grove for a reason and we hear those reasons when any of us are out door knocking. I sure do. We have to ensure that those reasons stay intact. People like knowing their neighbours, they like the quiet (compared to a busy downtown neighbourhood in a major city), they like their kids can ride their bikes around the city safely and that we are a safe city overall.
How can we maintain this?
Should we be putting parameters and limits on our growth? Should it be a free for all and let growth happen to increase our tax base? What are the risks and rewards to this type of growth?
Spruce Grove is a great city and more people moving here means the message is out there: that Spruce Grove is a wonderful city to live, raise a family and do business. Let’s keep that going.