The effects of the drastic drop in the price of oil could be felt in many industries in towns and cities all over Alberta. Many Alberta residents lost jobs, had to close their businesses and found themselves in unimaginable circumstances.
Recently, Alberta’s Finance Minister Joe Ceci said that the Alberta government would likely slow down its spending plan in the face of the slumping economy and that some initiatives previously announced might be scrapped all together.
However, there are some early signs that the economy could slowly be turning around. The Calgary Real Estate Board is recording that home sales and listings are on the rise. Many Chestermere real estate agents also saw no slowing down in the fourth quarter of 2015 with some even seeing deals closing on Christmas Day.
Chestermere has seen some businesses recently close up shop, but there have also been new businesses open up and many are scheduled to open their doors in the coming weeks and months.
Analysts also say that things could be looking up for oil as well, with estimates putting prices back in the $50 per barrel range. The Conference Board of Canada released its latest quarterly forecast which reflected Alberta’s real GDP will grow 1.2 per cent in 2016 after falling by 1.2 per cent this year, the biggest expected turnaround of any province. The board is forecasting economic growth in Alberta of 2.2 per cent for 2017.
But even with some optimism from some for 2016, the Alberta Government has announced they will be pumping the brakes on some projects in our province. Education Minister David Eggen said that his NDP government just learned that 101 of 197 current new school and modernization projects won’t open on time. Of those, 70 per cent will open one year or more after they were initially slotted to open their doors. Those delays are expected mostly in the Edmonton and Calgary areas as that is where population is most rapidly increasing.
Interesting though is that Eggen says the cause for these delays is Allison Redford as she promised to build 50 schools while 70 others were to have significant renovations by 2016, with money coming from what were then projected to be massive surpluses.
The Calgary Cancer Centre, which was originally to start being construction in 2016 which would land it completed in 2020 has also been pushed back. In October it was announced that the centre won’t be opening until 2024 and that the original cost of $830 million is now expected to be closer to the tune of $1.20 billion.
While many have spent these last few weeks of the year having a small scale Christmas season, industry analysts are predicting that 2016 will see a rise in the price of oil and improvements to Alberta’s economy.