The Town of Grande Cache was established in the early seventies to accommodate the development of a coal mine. Throughout its short history, Grande Cache’s economy has been strongly affected by the ever-changing world markets for natural resources.
In response to booms and recessions, the community strove for economic diversification, and successfully expanded into different industries. Today, the key industries in Grande Cache are oil & gas exploration and development, forestry, coal production, tourism, thermal-electricity generation, and a federal correctional institution. There is a varied retail sector servicing residents & visitors, and a growing service sector supporting expanding resource industries in the area.
Oil & Gas Exploration and Development - There is rapid expansion of oil and gas development in the area. EnCana Corporation and Conoco Phillips Canada have both set up operations in the community. EnCana has 96 employees and retained contractors in Grande Cache. Conoco Phillips has 50 contract operators and employees based out of their local office. Numerous other companies are working in the area, supporting a number of service companies located in Grande Cache.
Coal Production - Grande Cache Coal Corporation currently employs 275 people and is planning on expanding operations to meet the global demand for metallurgical coal. It is expected that there will be a steady increase in produced tonnage over the foreseeable future.
Milner Power is looking to commence mining operations at #14 Mine in 2009, requiring 75 new full time employees.
Thermal-Electricity Generation - Milner Power’s power plant currently employs 66 people, and uses coal to produce electricity. Operation expansions include a newly proposed $1.4 billion dollar power plant. This unit could start breaking ground late 2009 or early 2010. One thousand workers will be involved during the 3-year construction time, with as many as 700 workers at one time. Once in operation, up to 40 new employees will be hired.
Forestry - Forestry continues through timber harvesting and the opening of a value-added lumber mill by Foothills Forest Products, which employs 175 people. There are plans to expand the wood pellet production, as well as potential expansion for power generation and the value-added forest products operation.
Federal Correctional Institution - The Grande Cache Institution is immediately adjacent to the town, and is in the process of moving from minimum to medium security. They currently employ 250 staff, and plan on recruiting 80 additional employees by the end of 2009.
Tourism - The tourism economy continues to grow to help diversity our economic base, with increasing tourism products and services. We currently have Wild Blue Yonder rafting tours, Taste of Wilderness hiking tours, U Bar Trail Rides, Willmore Wilderness Horseback Adventures, and High Country Vacations for horseback trips, and Pacific Western Helicopters, offering sightseeing tours, heli-hiking, skiing, etc. We also have a new sports store offering outdoor recreational rentals, including mountain bikes, canoes, kayaks, camping gear, and more.
Economic growth in Grande Cache has been strong over the last several years and is anticipated to continue into the foreseeable future.
Another one of the town’s strongest areas of growth is in residential property. Recently, record amounts of construction permits have seen the development of new hotels, condos, and dozens of new houses. Grande Cache is drawing the attention of recreational property buyers around the province and is looking to foster the develop of tourism in the region. As well, there is experiencing considerable demand for industrial and commercial land, primarily for the resource industry services sector.