The Town of Stettler wants to get to know itself a whole lot better, and they’re moving ahead with a market analysis project to do just that.
Councillors decided at their Oct. 6 regular meeting to award a commercial market analysis study contract to urbanMetrics inc, after a request for proposals was issued earlier this year.
The study would examine things like the size and character of the commercial market in Stettler, identifying strengths and areas of opportunity.
The town’s Economic Development Committee sent councillors the results of the Request For Proposal (RFP), and Director of Planning and Development Leann Graham, along with Stettler and District Board of Trade Executive Director Stacie Benjamin spoke about the offers.
Benjamin noted that among the proposals (Tate Economic Research Inc., evaluation score 65, $34,630, urbanMetrics inc., evaluation score 97, $35,050, FBM, evaluation score 87, $39,960, Ivory Business Solutions Ltd., no score, $41,580 and Three Sixty Collective, evaluation score 82, $64, 830).
One from Ivory Business Solutions did not meet the requirements of the RFP.
“UrbanMetrics was our top choice,” said Benjamin, noting the company scored the highest evaluation.
The memo noted, “The evaluation of the proposals is weighted 40 per cent on project understanding, methodology and approach.
“Our review of the proposals concluded that the content from urbanMetrics inc. RFP provided the best value based on the proposal criteria.
The following aspects of the proposal stood out in comparison to other proponents: methodology and approach, data collection, trade area delineation and population and employment forecasting.
“UrbanMetrics inc. provided a creative and innovative approach to data collection by way of cellular data to gather a full one-year period of travel behaviour gaining an understanding of current customer origins and local travel patterns.
“The trade area delineation, determined through this data collection, will be focused by pre-defined geography of our main commercial districts.
“This will be intended to represent the surrounding population which travels into Stettler as well as local customers who support our retail/ service commercial industry.
“Further, the proposal from urbanMetrics inc. allows for us to customize our business surveys to help gain an understanding of the local view of the current business environment in Stettler, including growth prospects for local businesses.”
Graham stated two factors were important in the selection process, the ability to gauge employment possibilities and data collecting.
As well, urbanMetrics inc has experience working with municipalities, including Hardisty, Vulcan, Okotoks, High River and Banff.
Coun. Al Campbell asked how the evaluation worked, and Graham responded the RFP included criteria such as “project understanding” which alone added up to 40 per cent of the score.
Coun. Scott Pfeiffer asked how many people would be included in the analysis. Benjamin stated she couldn’t remember exactly but stated it was about 200.
Graham added that it won’t just be Town of Stettler residents but the town’s entire trading region.
Coun. Wayne Smith asked if the raw data will be available, over and above the final analysis. Benjamin stated it wasn’t in the RFP, but thought it possible to discuss with urbanMetrics inc.
Mayor Sean Nolls stated he is a big supporter of the project.
“I think this is something worth investing in…it’s important to know what we need and what we don’t need,” said the mayor.
Councillors unanimously approved awarding the project to urbanMetrics inc.
To pay for this project, the memo noted, “A budget of $36,000 was set aside as well as a grant from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) was received for $8,000 to conduct the Commercial Market Analysis.”
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter