Seniors say they can't afford Cold Lake
The rising cost of living in a booming town northeast of Edmonton is pushing out seniors on fixed incomes.
Al and Hazel Stevenson have lived just outside of Cold Lake for nearly 40 years, but say they can't afford it anymore.
"The cost of living has gone up quite a bit and my wife and I are both on fixed incomes and we can't afford to keep paying higher prices all the time to live," said Al Stevenson.
The Stevensons aren't the only seniors getting out of the booming area because of rising costs. At least six couples have left in the last four months for that very reason.
Cold Lake has long been known as a military town. But it lies south of the Athabasca oil sands and on the northern edge of the heavy oil industry, and the oil and gas industry is poised to become the largest source of employment in the area, according to city officials.
Real estate agent Bernard Lefebvre has lived in Cold Lake his whole life and says that in the last three years he'snoticed a big demographic shift.
"As described by one couple that we're dealing with — it's a young person's town in their mind."
Lefebvre said the city will feel the loss of its seniors because they work and volunteer in the community, making them part of its fabric.
The Stevensons say they don't want to pack up and start all over at their age.
"I'm torn because I like it here. I would just as soon we didn't have any boom here and I could stay here until they carried me out," said Al Stevenson.