Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of September 15)

By The A-Team | Sep 15, 2017 | Fort McMurray - Community Events

Another week, another roundup of local news from the Fort McMurray area. Amid the chatter over the upcoming local elections, some important developments took place.

The oilsands received a major boost this week when the Japan Canada Oil Sands Hangingstone Project started up again after production stopped due to the 2016 wildfire. Rachel Notley and JACOS president Abe Satoshi were present on site, according to Brandon Piper of MIX News:

JACOS Hangingstone Project Officially Opens

According to JACOS, the Hangingstone Expansion Project is expected to accumulate up to 20,000 barrels of oil per day by the second half of 2018.

Notley believes that will only mean positive things for Alberta’s use of the TransMountain Pipeline.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work to increase interest in Alberta products and diversify our markets, especially with respect to the energy industry. We know that the pipeline is a critical part of it. Which is why we are so pleased the Federal Government has approved it and we are confidant that it will withstand the inevitable legal challenges and we can move forward.”

It’s JACOS’ hope that bitumen production will continue for around 30 years using the steam-assisted gravity drainage method, a method which has been utilized at the Hangingstone Demonstration operation for more than 15 years. Read more...

Hangingstone will be a reliable source of petrochemicals for many years, and will go a long way in reviving the local economy.

Mental health is a serious issue, and local treatment is set to improve with $720,000 of funding granted to Keyano College by the government of Alberta.The program is intended to improve mental health resources for post-secondary students. From Fort McMurray Today:

Keyano gets $720K for mental health services

The program is to run at publicly funded institutions across Alberta between 2017 and 2020. Keyano will receive $240,000 annually during the program’s run.

“It’s vital that we continue to work together to ensure post-secondary students have consistent, quality access to mental health and substance use treatment, services and programs wherever they are in the province,” Brandy Payne, Alberta’s associate minister of health, said in a statement.

In 2016, the National College Health Assessment survey on 10 post-secondary institutions across Alberta showed high rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

During the last four years, Keyano College has received $160,000 from the Alberta Students’ Executive Council through provincial grants supporting mental health initiatives. Via

Anxiety and depression are common ailments in post-secondary institutions, and it's only good news to hear that more and more attention is being given to the issue.

Finally, the Empty Bowls was held on Sunday to great success. The event, in which festival-goers purchased bowls and sampled local eateries, raised a considerable amount of money for the Wood Buffalo Food Bank:

Empty Bowls Festival brings in $25K

This year’s Empty Bowls Festival raised over $25,000 for the Wood Buffalo Food Bank.

Festival goers purchased bowls last Sunday crafted by the Fort McMurray Potter’s Guild and made their way around Jubilee Plaza sampling 12 local restaurants.

“Last year the first annual Empty Bowls Festival was successful beyond our wildest dreams, and we are so excited to have had yet another successful event this year,” said Arianna Johnson, executive director of the Wood Buffalo Food Bank. “Our goal with this event is to raise awareness and funds for our organization while maintaining a family-friendly affordable atmosphere where local art and the Food Bank can come together to fight hunger. With all we have been through as a community your participation, hard work, and dedication to the food bank ensures no bowls go empty today and into our future.” Via

The article goes on to mention that the festival was considerably bigger than last year's, selling 250 more bowls.

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

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The A-Team

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