The Town of Bonnyville recently conducted a study to identify economic development potential in the Town, and the results indicate the following:
Bonnyville has a diverse and skilled labour force. The speed at which new employees can be attracted and absorbed may impact the rate of growth that is possible. Training will be required.
Community economic growth comes from:
The first three items normally represent more than 80% of growth in most communities. For those who are located in the community or elsewhere that want to expand or diversify, the community offers an advantage.
The Town and area have a good record of retaining and nurturing existing businesses. This core asset of existing business is the platform for growth.
Self-employed business in Canada grew over the past decade by 28% to a total of 58% of all businesses. Professionals are leaving big business or looking for a change in life style. Bonnyville has more than 11.5% of licensed businesses in home occupations and this will increase. It is from the ranks of the self-employed that the next generation of entrepreneurs will grow; they will create the next generation of small businesses.
The service sector is a critical element in the growth of a Town. A large part of the service industry is self-employed or small businesses. Larger organizations would be found in government, health care and education.
Small business potential is limited only by the level of initiative and imagination of the individual. This grouping of activities is the backbone of growth in many communities. As the community grows, the need grows for more specialized services and professionals:
1. Producer services purchased by industry for production and other operations improve profit. These include transportation, communication, engineering, design, consulting, accounting, legal, marketing and computer services, or the expansion of existing businesses or product lines
2. 3rd party services and contracting out include:
3. Tourism related activities include riding, nature tours, eco-tourism, fishing or hunting, bird watching, snowmobile touring, bed & breakfast or wilderness resorts.
4. Consumer services (are services used directly by individuals) include retailing, personal services, restaurants, recreation, child-care, and entertainment. They also include personal care, facials, pedicures, and relaxation massage
5. Environmental technologies and services are a growing sector. They include technology, consulting, recycling, conservation etc.
6. Government and Social Services include federal, provincial and local government. They may include actual location or contracted out services for consulting, protection, defense, education, health services, counseling, etc
Education and training services have favourable domestic and international growth prospects. Some opportunities are:
These services can be small businesses, specialists, or they can be major facilities.
Construction Services include residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional structures, and engineering structures such as sewer and water facilities, oil and gas distribution, dams, etc. The following sections expand on the opportunities:
a) Residential Development Individuals making a choice to move to a small community continue to work at their profession through technology and they have money to spend. They create new opportunities in the community for housing, landscaping, electronic equipment repair, personal services and restaurants. They also demand a higher level of services.
b) Plus Fifty Developments (facilities for the care and evolution of independence to interdependence for aging baby boomers There is a growing potential for residential (single, detached, condominiums, apartments), and housing and assisted living facilities for retired and semi-retired. Integrated facilities that do not require the individual to move as they become more dependent are being developed and operated. The service aspect of the development is a secondary opportunity and can include consultants, geriatrician, personal care, etc.
a) Agriculture Diversification
The alternatives in agriculture are almost limitless. Most opportunities to expand the farm produce also expand secondary businesses in the communities. Some of the options include alternative livestock, horticulture, special crops, processing and manufacturing. Alberta Agriculture has resource material on a multitude of options which include opportunities such as herbs and spices, berries, market gardening, tree nursery, dried flowers, bedding plants, woodlot operations, stables, aquaculture, honey, goat meat, etc.
This extension of the agriculture industry is the largest sector in Alberta with over 400 firms located throughout the province. This opportunity takes advantage Alberta's growth that will reach 3 million this year, competitive raw materials, the Canadian and U.S. western market of over 39 million, cost effective transportation and distribution, and low tax rates. Opportunities exist for additional diversification of the industry in the region. Bonnyville has bakery and meat processing, and as population grows, increases in capacity or new services for food preparation (baked goods, condiments, confectionery, frozen foods, sauces, snack foods and specialty meats and foods, pet foods) packaging, processing, distribution, etc., will develop. These can include traditional products and new specialty crops and livestock. Growth in the food sector has been consistent.
This sector currently produces a broad range of products for the resource industries. Access to customers is a key requirement. 320 establishments are in Alberta with size varying from small to large. Bonnyville could be a preferred smaller community for location as the workforce and business has experience in fabrication with cheaper land and good transportation.
d) Wood Products
High recent growth from new capacity and diversification indicate good potential for most wood products. Opportunity in the secondary and tertiary wood product industries is relatively footloose. Many of them now operate in communities throughout the province where workforce skills are available or can be developed. These products could be a potential for Bonnyville with the right entrepreneur.
e) Fabricated Metal
This industry includes products such as plumbing, heating, metal buildings, containers, etc. In Alberta, most product goes to the industrial market to serve the oil and gas, agriculture and other resource industries. Facilities are located in various areas, but prefer low cost land in smaller communities. Bonnyville has some of the labor skills, the contract and other trucking organizations, and the highway network that they require.
Alberta has about 300 firms. Raw material cost, labour, and transportation access and cost are the major considerations. Many firms prefer small communities. Bonnyville should be competitive with other facilities that are in operation.
g) Furniture and Fixtures
Opportunity includes both small and large firms. Large firms prefer urban areas for the access to a pool of labour (500 or more employees). Medium and small firms are moving to smaller communities that can meet labour needs. The small firms are targeted at local or regional niche markets. They tend to locate in smaller communities to reduce costs.
h) Transportation Equipment
Industries In Alberta there are 85 firms with more than 3,800 employees. Many of them are in large communities but some of the smaller components are manufactured in small communities. Industry demands high quality computer aided design and manufacturing and good transportation. Skills may have to be developed.
The service side of the petroleum industry presents opportunities for niche markets and new technology. Specialized requirements or industry decision to move some activities closer to production or solve environmental issues of the industry may create opportunities.