Our CBC crew has now been to Fort Mac and Back
We asked them to give us impressions of the community now that they were on their way back.
Here's some of what they said:
When I got of the plane here in Fort McMurray, I felt like I was home in Labrador. The same climate, geography, friendly people and dirty pickup trucks were all here. And after a week, I still feel that there are many similarities between the two regions. People here have a real pride of place whether they have been here for two or 20 years or plan to leave tomorrow or stay forever, this is their home and they hate to see that it's getting a bad reputation.
But the difference between the two places is obvious: it's wealth. The place is always moving, people are always working or talking about work. Some have told us that they have no social life because they work so much. But that's what they came here for and for many it means that they will be able to go back home and settle into a comfortable lifestyle thanks to Fort McMurray.
(Host Cindy Wall)
Flying in, it's all flat and farmland then suddenly you hit a swath of what looks like black spruce and looks like home. The sunrise is phenomenal. The people I met were brisk, matter of fact, very busy, warm, helpful, and really intense about how they feel about the place. [They] intensely wanted us to see the good sides. I saw steaks as thick as my mattress, in the supermarket ... and I don't know what they feed the pigs up this way, but porkchops like badminton rackets.
You can really smell the bitumen. Once you calm down and realize its not your clutch - you get used to it.
Everyone has a fascinating story. Everyone has babies. Sixty-five are born each and every month. This is most clearly a city of growth ... and for me, that's the starkest difference between Fort McMurray and home.
(Producer Terry LeDrew)
I was also surprised at how multinational Fort McMurray is. You hear about people from Newfoundland and Labrador moving to Fort McMurray all the time. It's easy to think of this place as another Newfoundland city with so many from the province living here, but there's a large community of people living here from the Philippines, India, and many more places. I spent some time in a school classroom, where students' names ranged from the Newfoundland name 'Mercer' to the Middle Eastern surname 'Ahmed.' This surprised me. I thought of the city as a town with big dirty trucks, hard hats, and oil money.
The traffic problems here also surprised me. I had heard about them second-hand, but never experienced them. People in Fort McMurray avoid driving during shift changes on the oil projects because the highways become blocked. There was an accident on that highway a couple of days ago, and it shut the highway down for four hours. Traffic was at a standstill.
People are protective over their city. It may be facing huge challenges as it booms, but this is their home and they have nothing but good things to say. For them, the traffic is their major complaint. And they're very happy with what's here for children. One person I ran into from Newfoundland said he didn't like it here until he had kids. Then, he met a community of others who were also raising children. And this became home.
(Reporter Lee Pitts)
Friday, March 14, 2008
- AUDIOInternational Flavour
- Host Cindy Wall talks about the international face of Fort McMurray with Melanie Reddy. She is the executive- director of the multi-cultural association in the Fort McMurray area (runs: 5:49).
- AUDIOStudent Workers
- Two students talk about balancing school with the big demand for workers in Fort McMurray (runs: 4:20).
- AUDIOOn the Road
- The CBC's Joclyn Cozac spends some quality time with Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers (runs: 4:35).
- VIDEOLeft Out
- Lee Pitts reports on one woman story of being left out of the Fort McMurray oil boom (runs: 2:38).
Thursday, March 13, 2008
- AUDIOHomeless Shelter
- Jane Adey takes a tour of the Salvation Army homeless shelter in Fort McMurray (runs: 5:40).
- AUDIOTaxi Driver
- If you want to know a city, talk to a taxi driver. Valentine Carter, originally of St. Vincents in the Caribbean, takes us on a tour of Fort McMurray
- AUDIOFish Truck
- The CBC's Jane Adey hooked a few minutes to talk to Delmer Oram from Glovertown who brought a truckload of saltfish to sell in Fort McMurray (runs: 4:53).
- VIDEOFamily Town
- Lee Pitts look at Fort McMurray as a family town
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
- AUDIODrug Scene
- Lee Pitts reports on the drug scene in Fort McMurray (runs: 4:10).
- AUDIOPhone-in Show
- Donna McElligott, Ted Blades and Cindy Wall take callers from Alberta and Newfoundland & Labrador (runs: 47:23).
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
- AUDIOWomen in Fort McMurray
- Jane Adey looks at women in the Fort McMurray workforce (runs: 5:36).
- AUDIOFort McMurray ambassador
- Cindy Wall talks to Myra Ross about an ambassadorship program welcoming people to Fort McMurray (runs: 6:55).
- AUDIOJob Fair
- Adrienne Lamb goes on a tour of a job fair at Keyano College (runs: 4:24).
- VIDEOMoving On
- Lee Pitts reports on people leaving Fort McMurray because of the high cost of living (runs: 2:21).
Monday, March 10, 2008
- AUDIOJane Adey interview
- Jane Adey speaks with Tom Hynes, a project engineer who is originally from Carbonear (runs: 6:14)
- AUDIOShell's Albian Sands Village
- Jane Adey takes a tour of Shell's Albian Sands Village located 80 kilometres north of Fort McMurray (runs: 6:25).
- AUDIOThe Golden Years Society
- Jane Adey joins Fort McMurray seniors for lunch at the Golden Years Society (runs: 5:23).
- VIDEOReal Estate
- Lee Pitts reports on real estate prices in Fort McMurray (runs: 2:45).