Continuity and Change 1982-1995
Rising expectations were evident in the Edmonton Regional Planning Commission 1979 Annual Report. It predicted that Edmonton would have a population of a million people by the year 2000. These expectations were based on oil extraction projects planned for Cold Lake and the Fort McMurray area, including the Alsands plant and the MacKenzie Valley pipeline. Construction of the pipeline was estimated to cost $1.5 billion. The ripple effect on the Canadian economy was estimated at $15 billion because of the need for construction materials. It promised to be another Alaska Highway many times over.
Edmonton's longest period of economic growth came to an abrupt end with the 1982 recession. Although the 1982 recession was severe, it is the 1913 recession that remains unchallenged as the real estate industry's greatest crisis in Edmonton's history since the market did not simply decline, it collapsed and remained relatively inactive for years. Northern development projects, such as the construction of a gas pipeline down the MacKenzie Valley from Inuvik to Edmonton, were cancelled.
The 1982 recession caused by the national energy policy was only one of the shocks to the Edmonton economy. The downsizing of all three levels of government has also reduced the number of jobs in the public service sector of the Edmonton economy.
The Edmonton economy has recovered from these events as new projects for northern development are revitalizing its economy. The Board has led the way by adapting to new technologies. It has also played an important role in achieving self-regulation by creating the Real Estate Council of Alberta. The Board has thus retained its commitment to an industry based on integrity while meeting the challenge of change.
This article is extracted from John Gilpin, Responsible Enterprise: A History of Edmonton Real Estate & the Edmonton Real Estate Board. (Edmonton: Edmonton Real Estate Board, 1997). The Heritage Community Foundation and the Alberta Real Estate Foundation would like to thank John Gilpin and the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton for permission to reproduce this material.