It’s Black Friday, and shoppers everywhere are making use of huge sales. But Friday also means another edition of our weekly column from the A-Team. Here is some important news for this week.

The Festival of Trees is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year, and the latest edition, held this week, brought in record amounts. The festival is held every year to raise awareness and provide healthy activities in the community. From My McMurray:

Festival of Trees brings in a record $665,000 for the NLHF

This year 150 sponsors, over 200 volunteers and 8,000 guests came together for the three-day festival in support of the NLHF.

“Totally outstanding!” said Melanie Antoine, chair of the NLHF board of directors. “That’s how I would sum up the whole Festival of Trees event right from the early planning by the organizing committee to the very last minute of the Sugar Plum Fairy Ball which closed off this year’s events. The level of commitment from our sponsors, volunteers, and auction and ticket purchasers was exceptional and really speaks to the commitment of our community for supporting health care initiatives in our region. The Gala Tree Auction raised $454,000 which is a record for 33 trees!”

Over the past 28 years, the Festival of Trees has raised almost $8 million (net after all expenses) for local health care, with over 30,000 volunteer hours invested by thousands of community members. Read more at mymcmurray.com

The Festival of Trees is a staple in Fort McMurray, and it’s clear the event is as successful as ever.

Credit: www.mymcmurray.com

In financial news, Alberta’s economy saw 6.7% growth in 2017 after two years of recession, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s latest economic outlook released this week:

Report: Alberta’s GDP Sees 6.7% Growth, Highest Across Country

According to the Conference Board of Canada’s latest economic outlook, the province’s GDP saw major growth around 6.7 per cent.

No other province or territory came close as British Columbia and Quebec each saw the second highest with 3.2 per cent growth.

The Conference Board notes the big reason was solid oil production and pickup in drilling.

They add this “incredible” growth won’t continue next year as they are predicting a modest 2.1 per cent growth, however, the report highlighted recent oil prices and how they could keep the momentum going over the near term. h/t mix1037fm.com

This is obviously impressive growth for the province, and will only mean good things for Wood Buffalo. In terms of real estate, the good news could mean a renewed confidence in the local economy, which might, in turn, slow the decrease in home prices.

Lastly, three local organizations will be receiving provincial funding to advance certain developments in the region. The Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program awarded the three grants to the Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association, Community Futures Wood Buffalo and Keyano College, according to the Fort McMurray Today:

Local organizations receive provincial funding

Community Futures Wood Buffalo will receive $67,850 to put towards the Wood Buffalo Recovery Loan Program. The money will provide administrative assistance to the program which helps “shorten the period of recovery from the May 2016 wildfires” for residents.

Keyano College is receiving $33,500 for their Regional Innovation Network Strategic Action Plan and will aid in the “development of an action plan to provide direction to new and expanding businesses in the region.”

And finally, the Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association has been given $34,700 to put towards the organizations website restructuring which hopes to improve the “platform which connects non-Aboriginal companies with the Aboriginal business community” in Wood Buffalo. Via fortmcmurraytoday.com

The 3 organizations were among 50 applicants across the province. Total funding reached $4.2 million.

That’s all for this weeks’ roundup. Check back on The A-Team blog for more news and updates on Fort McMurray.

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