Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of October 6)

By The A-Team | Oct 06, 2017 | Fort McMurray - Community Events

Happy Thanksgiving weekend from The A-Team! It’s time for another edition of our weekly column. Here's what we have for you this week:

In health, AHS or Alberta Health Services will be supporting the community over the fall by offering free adult mental health sessions to Fort McMurray citizens. The sessions will center on stress, self-esteem and communication. From MyMcMurray:

AHS offers free adult mental health sessions

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is offering free adult wellness sessions as part of the outreach being done by AHS to support the community in recovery from last years wildfire.

ASH mental health promotional staff will lead the sessions that are designed to strength personal relationships and with others.

Topics that will be covered include exploring stress, building self-esteem, enhancing bonds, communication and trust. Via

Mental health is a growing concern in the region, and it's great to see AHS doing its part. The sessions will take place every Tuesday (excluding the 31st) until the end of November at the Syncrude Sport & Wellness Center.

The Food Bank had a successful drive this week, just ahead of Thanksgiving. The Jeremy Snook Memorial Food Drive was able to raise over 3,000 pounds of food and collect $1,752.90 in cash and donations over the weekend, according to Brandon Piper of Mix News:

Third Annual Jeremy Snook Food Drive Raised Over 3,000 Pounds Of Food

Over the weekend, the drive, in support of the Wood Buffalo Food Bank and held in memory of Jeremy Snook raised an incredible 3,384 pounds of food.

“We are so grateful for (Jeremy’s mother) Gail Snook and her team for hosting this food drive each year in support of our organization,” she said. “It is a wonderful gesture to be paired with the remembrance of such a wonderful young man, and we are so happy that the family and friends of Jeremy see such a success each year while doing something good in the community.” h/t

It's fitting that the Jeremy Snook Drive is held so close to Thanksgiving, a time when we count our blessings. It's a great opportunity to share those blessings with those less fortunate.

Chief Jim Boucher Credit: Clare Clancy of Fort McMurray Today


The Oilsands turned 50 this week, and though the industry has brought tremendous prosperity to the region, it's a bittersweet anniversary for indigenous communities affected by the developments. From Clare Clancy of Fort McMurray:

Oilsands at 50: Balancing tradition and economy

Fifty years after the first oilsands mine sprung to life in northeast Alberta, Indigenous communities in the region struggle to reconcile economic prosperity with ongoing environmental concerns bred by a lucrative industry that has irreparably altered the landscape.

"The movement had a very strong black-and white position that was to shut down the tarsands, stop the beast," says Eriel Deranger, executive director of the advocacy group Indigenous Climate Action. "It has become the difference between a roof over people’s head and food on the table."

An estimated 23,000 Indigenous people live in Alberta's oilsands region, representing 18 First Nations and six Métis settlements.

Since Suncor Energy Inc. established its first mine in 1967 — spurring a rush for bitumen — the oilsands industry has become the major source of employment in the region, and Indigenous businesses have a significant stake in its success.

"It's a transformation," says Fort McKay First Nation Chief Jim Boucher, explaining that when the industry took root, people felt as though land was stripped away without consultation. "They were very bitter for a long time."


The debate over the environmental impact of the oilsands is a controversial one, but it's clear that the issue isn't quite settled yet. Here's hoping both sides eventually reach an agreement.

That’s all for this weeks’ roundup. Have a wholesome Thanksgiving weekend, and check back on The A-Team blog for more news and updates on Fort McMurray.

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The A-Team

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