Blackfalds needs a high school

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Blackfalds needs a high school.

The booming community of almost 7,000 is ranked as one of the fastest growing communities in Alberta and 14th in Canada.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2011 census Blackfalds’ population is 6,300, up more than 34% from the 2006 count. During that five year span, it became Alberta’s sixth fastest growing community. It is no longer just Red Deer’s bedroom community. Only 3.2% of Blackfalds residents are over age 65, compared with the national percentage of 14.8.

According to Blackfalds census in 2011, it has 6,399 residents, a 14% increase since 2009. The 2012 census shows the town’s population is 6,767.

This trend will continue.

Businesses and industries that have typically looked at locating in Red Deer are now eyeing Blackfalds. In June 2012, Lacombe County Coun. Rod McDermand compared Blackfald’s Aspelund growth to that of Nisku (Canada’s largest industrial park).

With rapid growth comes the need for recreational facilities, policing, and more schools. Blackfalds has stepped up to the plate to meet these demands. Blackfalds $15 million multi-use fieldhouse is under construction and is expected to be open by 2014. The town was successful in attracting Red Deer Rural RCMP to relocate to the Town of Blackfalds. The $7.5 million Protective Services Facility opened June 2011.

Currently, in Blackfalds, there is an aggressive campaign to get a high school.

Blackfalds third largest age group is five to 10 year olds. Iron Ridge, a kindergarten to Grade 4 school enrollment continues to increase. Two more portables are being set up this fall and they expect to apply for two more. A site for a new school has been set aside in the west side of town.

Clearly, Blackfalds is a community experiencing tremendous growth and its residents deserve the option of having their youth educated at home instead of being bussed into either Lacombe or Red Deer.

But, with the reality today of regionalization, it is a tough sell to the province, and doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon.