They made that point during a breakfast meeting Feb. 16 at the Olds Legion, organized by the Olds & District Chamber of Commerce and Uptowne Olds committee.
It’s predicted that 1,000 jobs or more may be created in Olds over the next three years or so as two marijuana production companies – Sundial Growers Inc. and Crescent Enterprises – set up shop. An existing company, Olds Soft Gels, is also getting into the business.
A group from India has also been looking at setting up a canola crushing plant in the area.
Town strategy and development officer Larry Wright said one business that will be needed is daycare.
“I spent about 31 years in Fort McMurray with the height of the boom and the activities there, social services, daycare and that support network is very, very valuable and needed,” he said.
He said transportation will be needed as will subcontractors for construction.
“The spinoff is endless,” town director of operations Scott Chant said, noting it will not only spur housing construction, supply of gas and power to those homes, but also businesses in restaurants, grocery stores and all kinds of retail stores.
Chant said that growth will attract other businesses which in turn will spur more.
“It’s an endless circle as we grow,” he said.
Town officials were asked how they plan to deal with those who want to operate retail cannabis sales outlets in the community.
“There’s no clear direction to that at this point in time,” Wright said. We’ve worked with the provincial government since 2015 on biomedical and we recently worked in October with AUMA — the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association — and part of that was our team made 16 recommendations to the province.
“At this point in time, I haven’t heard back on how to deal with all those issues, whether it be from a federal or provincial level. But certainly we’re looking forward to having something positive – or a clear direction.”
Chamber president Ben Stone asked if the town has a plan to provide public transportation for the growing population.
Wright said the town would like to set up bus transportation to and from places like Airdrie and Calgary, much like Didsbury and Carstairs currently have.
“They have the small bus connections and links to downtown Calgary right now. We’d certainly like to replicate that,” he said.
“It’s an endless circle as we grow.”
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
TOWN OF OLDS