Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Future's So Bright, Fort Mac...

Well, people, I sit here today quietly banging my head against the table top at my favourite local coffee shop and unofficial office, Coco Jo's. Why the head banging? Well, first, word seems to be out on the street about my quiet little coffee spot and it's jam-packed. I feared I might have to fight for a table this morning, and while I managed to secure one this has made me fearful of less-successful future mornings (read this as : more coffee shops, please - are you listening Starbucks and Second Cup?!?). The second reason for the head banging? People, I can't keep up with the latest developments in this city. Every day seems to bring yet another announcement of something new, something expanding, something being head spins just thinking about it all. In fact I was complaining on Twitter the other day about not being able to keep up - and yet those complaints of mine probably ring false because I am so very, very excited to be here at this point in the city's development.

I wrote some time ago about why this might be the most exciting time ever to live in Fort Mac, and I continue to believe this to be true. We are on the cusp of something here, and I suspect more and more of us are beginning to feel it, too. Whether it's the proposed expansion of MacDonald Island (I saw the plans on the interactive computer monitors set up at MI and they take my breath away), a new community centre in Eagle Ridge, community development plans, or revitalization of the downtown core, there seems to be something happening at every corner and every spot.

I know there will be dissension about this from some people. They will wonder about the expenditure, and they will wonder about being left with "white elephants" should we ever experience another bust in this "boom-bust" cycle we have experienced. All I can say to that is this : take a leap of faith. Look at Mac Island, and how some argued about how it was far too extravagant and far too expensive - and look at it now, hosting enormous events, concerts and trade shows, conferences and sports events. If ever there was a time to invest in our city's future, this is it, people. We are looking at incredible population growth, and we need to be ready for it. We need to have the infrastructure ready before it happens, and we need to have those community centres and sports facilities. To steal and paraphrase a line from one of my favourite authors, and one I've had the pleasure to meet, "if we build it they will come" ("Shoeless Joe", W.P. Kinsella).

So, my advice? Keep watching this blog, if you'd like, because I plan to explore and write about all these developments. Read the local news, listen to the radio, watch the local Shaw TV broadcast, visit the local websites, and keep an eye on the official sites of places like the RMWB and MacDonald Island. Why? Because the future's so bright you've gotta wear shades - and on a cool rainy September day like this that's quite the accomplishment, people.

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