February 21, 2024

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Mayor Sandy Bowman says there’s loads of incentives for folks to maneuver to Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo as he predicted “the most effective days of how we do enterprise are simply across the nook” earlier this week.

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In his State of the Area handle to the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce, Bowman earned a standing ovation as he praised the municipality’s “pro-business council” and predicted an optimistic future for progress in Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo.

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There are plans being developed to encourage extra folks to reside in Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo, he mentioned. He added Fort McMurray already has key benefits over different cities in Alberta, akin to inexpensive housing and the bottom municipal property taxes in Alberta.

“We’re doing all the pieces we are able to to make this a spot folks need to reside in,” mentioned Bowman, arguing that any progress have to be socially and economically sustainable.

Bowman is hopeful the area will see one other increase powered by carbon seize and storage, notably with the proposed Pathways undertaking. The leaders of the chamber and Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo Financial Improvement and Tourism (FMWBEDT) mentioned in January they’re additionally hopeful in carbon seize’s potential for the neighborhood.

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Bowman additionally praised the municipality’s relationship with First Nation and Metis communities. He pledged to proceed supporting initiatives just like the Lacking, Murdered and Exploited Indigenous Peoples (MMEIP) process pressure and the Athabasca Tribal Council’s annual cultural competition.

Council has additionally authorized elevated funding in direction of Indigenous and rural relations, and helps the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s (ACFN) aim of opening Alberta’s first city reserve. He praised the municipality’s battle towards homelessness and the return of native EMS dispatch.

“We gained’t succeed as a neighborhood except social prosperity goes hand in hand with financial alternative,” he mentioned.

henry hunter
CAO Henry Hunter listens to Mayor Sandy Bowman take questions after giving his state of the area to the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce on the Fort McMurray Golf Membership on January 31, 2024. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray At the moment/Postmedia Community

Within the meantime, Bowman mentioned the municipality has made progress on downtown improvement and hopes to see extra work achieved quickly. Economically, Bowman mentioned downtown’s inhabitants has principally stagnated for the final seven years.

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Development of flood mitigation berms continues. Bowman mentioned council additionally helps getting land for an Growing older In Place facility to enrich the long-term care centre at Willow Sq..

The Downtown Revitalization Incentives Program (DRIP) has generated $16.8 million in non-public funding. for 120 initiatives in downtown. He’s excited for the cultural and financial alternatives that can come as soon as Arts Council Wooden Buffalo opens its Arts Incubator within the former Landmark Cinemas on Major Road.

Any progress will probably be lead by the non-public sector. Bowman and Henry Hunter, CAO of the RMWB, each mentioned there will probably be fewer capital initiatives within the close to future as soon as present initiatives are completed. Hunter mentioned most main new initiatives will deal with sustaining current infrastructure.

Hunter made comparable feedback throughout final yr’s finances discussions when he warned of a plan specializing in sustaining the RMWB’s present belongings.

“I might advise towards including new infrastructure except we actually, actually, actually need it,” he informed council on the time.

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