Opportunities abound in Parkland County, whether you are looking at starting a business, relocating your corporate headquarters, or settling down with a family.
Parkland County is uniquely and optimally situated; located only 20 minutes from the largest and northernmost airport, not only in Canada, but in the world. The airport features a 12,500-acre business park, comprised of over 400 businesses and counting. The Edmonton International Airport is also home to two intermodal railway facilities, both located within a 30-kilometre radius. When factors such as access to major logistics routes through Canada, Mexico, Alaska and across the country via Trans-Canada Corridors are taken into account, it’s easy to see why many businesses are taking a keen interest in Parkland County.
Acheson, the county’s industrial park, is also only a short drive from Edmonton and is accessible by both major highways (16 Trans-Canada and 16A). Acheson is also located on Highway 60, the Canada/Mexico corridor, and has access to the Alaska corridor along Highway 43. With over 10,000 acres, Acheson has approximately 7.9 million square feet of developed space, as well as 500 acres of shovel-ready land, and over 1,500 acres of ready-to-develop land. Just some of the major brands that call Acheson home include Gregg Distributors, Sysco, Myshak Group, Champion Pet Foods, Standard General, Supreme Steel, Fountain Tire and the recently announced Amazon Robotics Fulfillment Centre, which is the first of its kind in North America.
Parkland County works with its residents, businesses, local Chamber of Commerce and various associations within the County to facilitate introductions among business leaders and potential partners. The County’s goal is to showcase available commercial and industrial real estate, inform on incentives, consult on relocations, and offer concierge service for business locating within the County. The concierge service includes input from a dedicated project manager in order to streamline the permitting, inspections, and any other regulatory processes.
Parkland County is business friendly, diverse and progressive with several agricultural, manufacturing, transportation & logistics and IT-oriented companies that call the County home. Earlier this year, the County was pleased to announce that Amazon’s first Robotics Fulfillment Centre was locating in Acheson, bringing 700 jobs during construction and another 1,000 full- and part-time jobs to the region. The centre, which will be more than 3,000,000 square feet, will open in 2022. Robotics will select, package and ship items like electronics, books, and toys.
“Our strategic location and skilled workforce helped us attract Amazon to Parkland County,” said Laura Swain, Interim Chief Administrative Officer. “Their presence is a welcome addition to our growing logistics/distribution eco-system.”
“Council is tremendously excited to welcome Amazon to Parkland County,” noted Mayor Rod Shaigec. “The facility is a major investment and will create a significant number of jobs in the region.”
Mayor Shaigec couldn’t be happier about the developments going on in Parkland County and the incentives bringing business to the region.
“One of the things that makes our county very appealing is a very attractive tax rate, which puts us in a strong position regionally and globally,” he says. “Another thing that sets us apart is our staff and their focus. We have a staff that truly are business and customer service oriented, and focused on solutions. In particular, with larger investments like Amazon, we provide a concierge level of service. Our senior staff are directly involved to provide assistance and oversight that expedites the entire process from permitting to the company opening their doors.”
The Mayor continues, discussing the announcement from Amazon, “It is obviously a significant development for Parkland County, and it will help generate much needed tax revenue. As with many municipalities, there have been challenges with the economic downturn and we are just starting to recover from the pandemic. We are still trying to replace some tax revenue from the accelerated phase out of coal-fired electricity generation.”
Parkland County is currently engaged in a transitionary phase as it moves from one evolution (coal fired power generation and general manufacturing) to the next (value-add manufacturing/transportation/distribution and IT orientation). Agriculture and agri-foods remain a big part of the region’s identity, however, with large multinational organizations like Amazon and Champion Pet Foods (NorthStar Kitchen) calling the area home, that identity is quickly evolving into one of industry-leading and diverse opportunities.
“What I’m hoping about Amazon is that it is a signal to the world that we are truly playing in the global marketplace, not just in Parkland County, but for the region,” says Mayor Shaigec. “We are innovative; robotics, AI, machine learning – those are being deployed in a number of sectors right now, making us globally competitive. We have a highly skilled workforce to meet demand in this and other sectors that are being provided by the region’s world class educational institutions.
“We are also diversifying and focusing on the Ag sector through value-added agri-foods. We have a land supply with some of the best soils not just in Canada, but globally. With Canada identified as one of six net exporters of food by 2030, we have a tremendous opportunity to attract business and create employment opportunities.”
He continues, “Parkland County believes in working collaboratively with our local neighbours and supporting regions to ensure that the Edmonton Metropolitan region leverages their respective resources to enable growth in all areas. We achieve this by sharing information and working closely with the Edmonton Metropolitan Regional Board (EMRB) and Edmonton Global.”
Partnerships such as these have enabled local amenities, like a bus service into Acheson, that transports the workforce to the industrial park from Edmonton, Spruce Grove, and Stony Plain.
“Currently we are developing a regional agriculture master plan,” says Mayor Shaigec. “I am confident that it will be endorsed by the EMRB. We are creating conditions and a framework for the agriculture sector to become very prosperous in the region as we balance the needs of both urban and rural municipalities. We have lost some prime agricultural land to urban sprawl and, as a result, we are planning for smarter growth.”
While Parkland County grows economically it also grows demographically, attracting people from a wide array of cultures and backgrounds. Parkland County provides its residences a high quality of life at an affordable cost of living comparatively to other regions.
“Parkland County has so much to offer families and individuals, which is why I think we are attracting a diverse population,” says Mayor Shaigec. “We offer country living in close proximity to urban centers like Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, Devon and Edmonton. We have a great recreation centre for individuals, attractions for tourists, the North Saskatchewan River on the south and Pembina River to the west. We have the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, Chickakoo Lake and other recreational ammenities – we should be proud of what we have.”
Mayor Shaigec knows that a county can have a growing population, outstanding natural areas, recreational facilities, and lots of business opportunities, but it won’t matter if it lacks one thing. Thankfully, it’s the thing the Parkland County has plenty of – great people.
“Our people are the most important aspect,” the Mayor concludes. “They are so invested in the community and give so much of their time. What makes a community are the people and their efforts, and in Parkland County our people are dedicated to enhancing everyone’s quality of life. We have 24 community halls and each one has a number of volunteers dedicated, passionate, and committed to the events they host there.”
Parkland County has plenty to offer businesses, individuals, corporations and families. Learn more by visiting www.parklandcounty.com.