Nobleford mayor shares secret to Alberta community’s rapid growth

Click to play video: 'Growing Nobleford has no property taxes in 2018'
Growing Nobleford has no property taxes in 2018
After doubling its population in 15 years, the Village of Nobleford is seeking town status. Matt Battochio reports – Jan 17, 2018

A booming little community in southern Alberta is in the midst of forging a new identity. The village of Nobleford has more than 1,000 residents and it can potentially be legally recognized as a town – which may be its next move.

According to Don McDowell, the mayor of Nobleford, the population of the community has more than doubled in the past 16 years, going from 610 people in 2001, to a population of over 1,400 in 2017.

READ MORE: Census 2016: Lethbridge fifth-fastest growing city in Canada

McDowell says one of the reasons for the surge in residents is a lower tax structure. The village has the lowest property taxes in Alberta.

According to municipal data, in 2017, a house valued at $215,000 in Lethbridge would have cost residents around $1,700. The same house value in Nobleford was just $83.14.

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To celebrate the Nobelford’s centennial birthday, the village went a step further: property taxes were completely eliminated for 2018.

Another reason cited for growth comes from an area in the community that McDowell calls “New Nobleford.”

“As a council, we made the decision to go ahead and develop 30 big lots out here,” McDowell said on Wednesday. “Today we have none left.”

He said the industrial area filled up in less than six years and brought in a significant amount of jobs.

“This is Ag Growth International,” McDowell said while gesturing towards the site as he drove a Global Lethbridge crew through the community. “So there’s about 130 full-time jobs in the one factory here in Nobleford.”

READ MORE: The village of Nobleford has the lowest taxes in Alberta

Over the years, new houses were snatched up by young buyers leaving the community with an average age of 28, McDowell said. He added that as the population increases, taxes “will increase slightly” over the next few years.

The village has applied for town status with the provincial government and expects to hear back in less than a month. McDowell sees the designation as a potential hook to bring in commercial business.

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“This is part of the reason we are going to become a town,” McDowell said. “If you were to set up a retail establishment; village or town?”

Nobleford isn’t finished growing. McDowell said in the next 10 to 15 years he expects the community to grow to 2,500.

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