Snap Fitness relocated to its new location in the spring.

Local business grows despite economic downturn

The Town of Sylvan Lake is fighting through the economic downturn and will “emerge strong"

The Town of Sylvan Lake is fighting through the economic downturn and will “emerge strong because we are planning, strategizing and working together,” according to Mayor Sean McIntyre.

The month of June saw the reopening of two businesses in Sylvan Lake Rowanoak Law and Snap Fitness. The new building is co-owned by the businesses and the process of construction was “a long process but well worth it,” according to Snap Fitness co-owner Leigh Ostiguy.

The expansion and redevelopment of these businesses is indicative of a local economy that continues to grow despite economic adversity, and according to Ostiguy, the business community has “stronger communication” and greater knowledge on how to “unify and grow the community.”

This knowledge, according Mayor McIntyre, stems from relationship building with community business.

“We know that by working with the business community, with our residents and with the Chamber of Commerce we are going to weather the storm together,” McIntyre said.

According to McIntyre, many businesses see Sylvan Lake as “home” and that both businesses and the Town will be “resilient and continue to plan our futures in the area.”

This resiliency has led to economic growth in commercial business licenses, with commercial permits growing from $250,000 to $3,000,000 in just one year.

“I think that indicates private sector confidence in Sylvan Lake and the Town’s ability to weather the economic storm,” McIntyre said.

While maintaining relationships is important, it is not the Town’s place to “regulate business competition” according to McIntyre.

“It is important when it comes to proposals to ensure we take a long hard look at them and ensure that it is going to suit the community going forward,” he said. “When it comes to folks planning businesses as long as the land fits business licences are usually granted.”

He added that the Town’s place is to ensure that infrastructure is prepared for growth in any economic forecast.

“As a municipality, we continually plan for our future with infrastructure improvements like roads, sidewalks and utility replacements,” he said. “We spend a lot of time developing master plans for things like transportation and our Social Master plan, which was just adopted at council.

“We also pay close attention to the economy and our plans moving forward do include the possibility of economic downturns.”

He added that the Town has a “deep understanding of those hardest hit by low oil prices and continually fosters plans for struggling local business.”

While oil prices do affect all industries in Sylvan Lake, the Town is in an advantageous position because of its “business diversity”, according to McIntyre.

“Although our businesses have reported losses, we have noticed that 75 per cent of them have still reported benefits from tourism,” he said.

He added that the Town relies on strategic partnerships with the Chamber and private businesses and that “no matter what economic climate we find ourselves in we learn that we are better together.”

reporter@sylvanlakenews.com