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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Alberta Will Develop Land for Housing in Fort McMurray - Finally!

Government of Alberta announces release of Crown lands to establish two new residential communities in Fort McMurray. This has been such a long time coming. A large part of the reason Fort McMurray is the most expensive place to live in Alberta is the slow response to expanding and servicing additional land for housing.


We at Cambridge Strategies Inc. worked with all three orders of government and industry in 2004 in a very effective collaborative model that developed an update of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Business Case published in 2005. A very long time ago.


We had the municipality and the Federal government ready to sign off and invest money in their various areas of jurisdiction. Alberta made promises at the time but failed to deliver. One key Alberta Minister seemed determined to not facilitate this development for reasons that only seemed politically motivated from the "outside."


The Radke Report marked the change in the attitude of the Alberta government about getting the growth issues in the RMWB resolved. That former Minister is no longer an obstacle. This announcement of land development for housing is tangible evidence that the social and public services infrastructure deficits in Fort McMurray are finally getting the government attention it deserves.


With the Land Use Planning initiatives being undertaken in the Lower Athabasca Region that is contiguous with the boundaries of the RMB, we can expect more enlightened momentum to address the environmental and growth pressures the oilsands are creating.


I get pretty hard on the Stelmach government from time to time. This time I only have kudos for them on this announcement.