Diversifying the Regional Economy.

The Brooks Newell Region is welcoming emerging industries - new and evolving industrial sectors and value chains are growing at a faster rate than the overall economy.

Cannabis/Cannabinoid (CBD).

The recent legalization of cannabis, along with the Brooks Newell Region's welcoming business-minded community and local government, establishes the region as a top destination for cannabis production and processing. This area couldn’t be more perfectly suited for the cannabis industry – the dry climate, well-drained soils, copious sunlight hours and direct access to an abundant volume of water for irrigation and processing make the Brooks Newell Region an easy choice. Southern Alberta is already well established as a leader in industrial hemp production, with area farmers accounting for as much as 40% of the national crop. The City of Brooks recently announced that the Natural Health Alliance (NHA) will be constructing and operating a medical cannabis production and processing facility in Brooks' South Industrial Park. Phase one of construction will be a 30,000 square foot facility and will cost between 6 and 8 million dollars.

RMMI, an Alberta based company that focuses on the production, cultivation and sale of medical marijuana in various forms, has also located production and operations in the County of Newell.

Health Canada also recently approved the harvest of industrial hemp flower, leaf, and bud material in addition to seed and fiber. This decision to allow whole-plant harvesting strengthens Canada’s position as a leader in the fast growing cannabinoid space. With the construction of NHA and RMMI, CBD companies will have ready access to feedstock, whether they choose to extract CBD from hemp, cannabis, or both plants.

Renewable Energy.

Brighter is better and in the Brooks Newell Region, we see almost 2,400 hours of sunshine per year, one of the highest in all of Canada. Alberta's renewable revolution launched in the Brooks Newell Region with the construction of the largest solar project in Western Canada in 2017. The $30-million solar array powers 3,000 homes in southeast Alberta and was built on 30-hectares of land. Construction and operations rely on local supply chain and services. According to Elemental Energy, construction of Brooks Solar contributed over $4.5M of direct local economic activity within the County of Newell and $7M within Alberta. Since the construction of this project, several other companies have approached the region looking to capitalize on this emerging industry. If the proposed projects meet their planned deadlines, close to 1,479 megawatts will be generated from solar sites near Brooks by 2020.

The Brooks Newell Region is also a collaborating partner of the Southeast Alberta Energy Diversification Strategy (SEEDS) which was created to better understand the impacts of the emerging renewable energy industry on the labour force in southeast Alberta. www.seedsalberta.ca