Giant Amazon distribution centre near Calgary to create 750 jobs

Amazon is building a 600,000-square-foot distribution warehouse just north of Calgary that will bring 750 full-time jobs to the area, officials say.

600,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Balzac will create 750 full-time jobs

Amazon confirmed Thursday it is building a 600,000-square-foot warehouse just outside Calgary at Balzac in Rocky View County. (Jennifer Lee/CBC)

Amazon is building a 600,000-square-foot distribution warehouse just north of Calgary, officials announced Thursday.

It's not the Seattle-based company's second headquarters — that $5-billion, job-creating juggernaut that cities across North America are vying for — but it will bring 750 full-time jobs to the area, said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley at a ground-breaking ceremony in Balzac.

"And no one from Calgary has even had to wrestle a bear," Notley said, referring to a City of Calgary promotional campaign that included a cheeky billboard in Seattle promising to fight a bear to win the company's favour.

Amazon's director of Canadian operations, Glenn Sommerville, said the massive new warehouse in Balzac's Nose Creek Business Park will need workers to receive, unload, retrieve and pack all manner of items for delivery in Western Canada. 

The company will also hire support staff such as facility technicians and human resources personnel, he said.

"We're very excited to grow here in Alberta," he said.

Amazon's 7th facility in Canada

When it opens next year, the Calgary-area warehouse will be Amazon's seventh facility in Canada.

The company already employs more than 2,000 people at warehouses in Ontario and British Columbia.

Including its corporate offices, development centres and other facilities, Amazon employs 4,400 people in Canada

Reeve of Rocky View County Greg Boehlke said the size of the new facility is mind boggling, and the jobs it will create will be great for the local economy.

"If you work with your neighbours, good things happen," he said, noting that the county, the city of Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, the province and Ottawa all had roles in luring Amazon to southern Alberta.

"When governments work together, this is what results look like," said Calgary MP Kent Hehr, who is minister of sport and persons with disabilities.

Amazon is promising to bring 50,000 high-paying jobs and a $5-billion US investment to the city it ultimately chooses for its second headquarters.

With files from The Canadian Press