Mill Woods Development
In 1971 the price of an un-serviced 50-foot lot in Mill Woods was $2,200, significantly less than other areas under development at the time such as Dickinsfield ($3,800-$4,500), Thorncliff ($5,000-$5,500) and Duggan ($6,000). Approximately 1,000 people applied for the right to purchase one of the first 194 lots and the City drew names. The intention was to take the income from land sales and buy more land elsewhere but the City did not acquire any additional land because there was no guarantee it would be able to annex other outlying areas. Land banking was effectively obsolete. The Alberta Housing Corporation collaborated with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to subsidize interest rates for low income homebuyers. In the early years there were numerous challenges with infrastructure: the sewage system, roads and the lack of mail delivery, public transit, schools, and recreation facilities. The development of Mill Woods proceeded much faster than expected and by 1976 there was only a ten year supply of land remaining, not the 20-years anticipated, and the City began to revise its servicing standards, reducing sidewalks on both sides of the street, curbs, etc. Beginning in 1973 a number of housing coops were built in the area. The Keegano Housing Coop was developed in 1976 with residents from every walk of life and age group; the Salvador Housing Co-op built in 1976 was comprised primarily of Chilean refugees. In 1978 70% of the population of Mill Woods was under 30, compared to city’s average of 26% under 30. As in other neighbourhoods with a younger than average demographic, concerns about juvenile vandalism and amenities for young people began to be raised in the community the late 1970s when the population of Mill Woods reached 30,000 residents. In 1981 the oil boom ended abruptly due to the sharp decline in oil prices on the international market and the introduction of the National Energy Program. The collapse of world oil prices in 1986 and massive government cutbacks kept the city from making a full economic recovery until the late 1990s.