The Airdrie Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown as its keynote speaker to deliver his Annual State of the City Address on Tuesday morning. Mayor Brown spoke to the regional business community during the Chamber's Breakfast at the Town and Country Centre, highlighting the city's growth and path forward.

Population growth, business growth, and developments

While the 2024 census's results will be made available next month, Mayor Brown said he is estimating that Airdrie's population will be over 85,000 this year. He, like many other municipal officials, has stressed that Airdrie's exponential growth is continuing.

"I still get choked up thinking about the transition from being a smaller municipality into this much grander scheme, and the core essence of who we are hasn't changed," he said. "That's quite an incredible thing."

He added that Airdrie is continuing to attract businesses, which is a testament to the nature of the community and the economic landscape. According to Mayor Brown, total business licenses increased by over 3  per cent from 2022 to 2023. In 2022, there were 4,512, while last year, there were 4,676. 

He also highlighted that population growth has meant there is an increased need for housing, underlining that accessory suite applications are increasing in Airdrie. In 2023, there were a total of 35 applications for accessory suites, while in 2024, in Q1 and Q2 alone, there have already been 23.

"We're trying to provide people with a home or somewhere to live at a reasonable rate," he said. "The more inventory that we have, the better the opportunity for those individuals to find a place."

As per new development plans, council has adopted two Community Area Structure Plans (CASP) and five Neighbourhood Structure Plans (NSP). The NSPs include the Wildflower NSP, Spring Valley, Sawgrass, Key Ranch, as well as Vantage Rise. CASPs include the Southwest CASP, as well as the East Points CASP

Key projects

Key projects that are underway or soon to be underway, that the Mayor highlighted, included the highly anticipated Airdrie Multi-Use Library and Facility - slate to open next fall - which the Mayor said would be a great addition to the downtown core.

"What I like most is a community gathering space and you can see where it's going to happen and it's just going to be a place to congregate, to connect, and to develop," he said. "It's going to hopefully be the heartbeat downtown and again drive other things as well."

The Southwest Recreation Center was also highlighted, with the Mayor saying that while the project is needed for the community to thrive, inflation pressures are not lost on the municipality.

"I was part of the first two phases of the Rec Center and I can tell you, the cost is doubled," he added. "Try and find an extra 100 to 120 million, when you have to deal with all the other different infrastructure needs in the community and other investments that we have; it's pretty challenging."

Mayor Brown also reiterated the inflationary pressures the municipality is facing when he discussed several costs related to firefighting equipment.

"If you look at a fire engine, in 2015, we paid 920,500 bucks for that. It's $1.59 million now; in less than a year, and the delivery time is three years, which is even more extraordinary," he explained. "An aerial ladder truck back in 2010 was about a million bucks. The projection for 2026, where we need one, is 3.2 million dollars."

Another recreational project highlighted was the Northeast Regional Park, which Mayor Brown described as an incredible investment.

"It not only preserves the only real naturally treed area in our community and within our borders, but it also provides an unbelievable amount of recreation opportunities across the spectrum. Phase one - that's going to be starting in September of this year, which is exciting."

The Artificial Turf Field, which is already under construction was also mentioned as an initiative that is more than just about football games.

"I think our investment will be well worthwhile, once that's up and running. You'll see a lot of people coming through the community."

Small municipalities vs. medium-sized municipalities and the gaps 

Mayor Brown expressed some frustration when discussing the discrepancies in spending between smaller towns and villages in comparison to larger cities, such as Airdrie. He made the point when discussing his involvement in a project regarding greenhouse gas reductions for the Federation of Municipalities.

"I was on the board of experts and the two smaller municipalities, one from British Columbia and one from Nova Scotia; 9000 people, and 4000 people; and they had these little unique cool things. But, they had access to funding that we did [not] for operational costs from the [federal government], and also for capital infrastructure."

Mayor Brown said that it is very frustrating to see this, as a city like Airdrie could benefit greatly from increased funding. He also explained the evolution of the Municipal Sustainability Initiative into the Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF).

"In 2010, when I started, if we counted one person, we got roughly 378 bucks from the province under MSI. As you can see, as we've continued to grow, the amount of money that we're getting now is pitiful," Mayor Brown said. "Look at 2024; we have to make that up. If you look at a tax increase of one per cent, there's roughly 750 grand. Think about that - we have to make up the difference from the province."

An update on a new healthcare initiative 

Mayor Brown also touched upon a healthcare initiative that was introduced some months ago by Airdrie's One Health Associate Medical clinic and Dr. Julian Kyne.

"The Deputy Minister was here two weeks ago, and he looked me in the eye and he said this is going to happen. It's an opportunity to triage patients at the front end, so, instead of sending a lot of patients into urgent care, we're going to send them to an actual medical clinic."

Mayor Brown said that a third of Airdrie's population does not have a family doctor.

"This new process - they're going to build differently. It's a completely new concept that the government is very supportive of. Business plans are in place; we've been working directly with Alberta Health and we're hoping to get some news before the end of summer if this is going to be funded." 


In his closing remarks, Mayor Brown emphasized the need for business leaders within the community, as well as residents, and the municipality to continue to be vocal in their advocacy efforts for the city.

"It's imperative; we have two MLAs that sit on behalf of the people who sit here; they sit there on behalf of the people who sit here," Mayor Brown stated. "We have to get them going and we have to get them energized and we have to get them to realize that money has to come here. I can do some, council can do some or administration - [they have] done some, but we need a community initiative here." 

The Mayor also took time to provide a summary of the new governance structure, as well as the standing committees, as well as which committees are tasked with what priorities and areas of focus. 

Other key highlights also included an update on the water main break in Calgary and how Airdrie has been impacted by it. Mayor Brown underlined that repair work is continuing and that he continues to be in regular contact with his Calgary counterpart, Mayor Jyoti Gondek. He noted that Airdrie continues to be under level four water restrictions as well as a fire ban. 

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