January 21st, 2018

Business Beat: It was a good year

By Medicine Hat News on December 20, 2017.

The past 12 months were an eventful year for business in Medicine Hat. Unemployment is down compared to 2016. Commercial construction is up. New neighbourhoods are breaking ground. It appears helium is on the horizon. Aviation history was made in our back yard. A 200-megawatt wind farm was recently announced 50 kilometres from the city. Advanced technology companies are either growing or relocating to Canada’s sunniest city.

It’s hard to ignore the flurry of residential and commercial construction taking place in the city’s south end, to the point that all serviced commercial lots are now spoken for. Masterpiece Care Corporation’s new 121 suite Southland Meadows facility has been hailed as Alberta’s finest and is one of many projects completed or underway in the city’s south. On the residential side, Lansdowne Equity Ventures cut the ribbon on a new neighbourhood and hailed smooth City Hall processes as reasons it was able to break ground less than a year after beginning the process.

Helium is an opportunity few saw coming and could be a boon for all Hatters. In November, the Weil Group announced its intention to build Canada’s first helium liquefaction plant in Canada’s sunniest city. The company has two billion cubic feet of proven reserves, while the City of Medicine Hat is exploring for helium as part of its own expanded drilling program. As demand continues to rise, Medicine Hat is one of the rare few jurisdictions around the world with the ability to serve the global market.

True aviation history was made in the village of Foremost this year, as the first Transport Canada beyond-line-of-sight (BVLOS) drone flight took place in the village’s airspace. Canada continues to lead the way in the multi-billion-dollar drone industry, positioning Medicine Hat as an important destination for drone development and testing. In fact, the Foremost UAS Range is Canada’s largest airspace for BVLOS flights.

Just last week, the Government of Alberta made its long-awaited announcement of which renewable energy projects would be selected under its 400 megawatt Renewable Energy Program. In the end, 600 megawatts worth of projects were approved, with Capital Power’s 200-megawatt Whitla Wind Farm being selected a mere 50 kilometres from Medicine Hat.

Looking to Advanced Technology, Atlantis Research Labs formally moved to Medicine Hat this year, following its acquisition of Medicine Hat-based Form-Tech Machining. The high-tech company develops jet propulsion, and waste gas incineration systems and is forecasting as many as 200 jobs in the next five years.

Looking at this list, there is no doubt that Medicine Hat is open for business. And if we continue to play our cards right, 2018 will look much the same.

From our family to yours a very best of the holiday season and a prosperous 2018.

Ryan Jackson is the general manager for Invest Medicine Hat, is the city’s economic and business development initiative whose role is to uncover and promote business opportunities in Canada’s sunniest city. For more information on investment opportunities, visit http://www.investmedicinehat.ca

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