Fall Heartland Community Information Evening

Fort Air Partnership Executive Director Nadine Blaney responds to a question from an interested resident at the last community information evening held in Bruderheim. Nearly 200 people attended the May 7 event.

Come hear about current industrial projects, activities and plans within Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and surrounding region from businesses, municipalities and industry-related organizations.

  • Where: Gibbons Cultural Centre
  • When: Monday, October 27 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. A light meal and refreshments will be provided.
  • What: Presentations from 6:00 – 7:00 pm. Booths open at 5:00 pm. Company and organization representatives are available to answer your questions before and after the presentations.
  • RSVP for refreshment and seating purposes to info@lifeintheheartland.com.


Celebrating 5 Years in #ABHeartland

5th Anniversary

Life in the Heartland’s five sponsoring organizations were on hand for the cake cutting ceremony June 12. (L to R) Todd Schneider from Pembina Pipeline Corp representing Northeast Capital Industrial Association; Neil Shelly, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association Executive Director; Life in the Heartland Chair Vanessa Goodman; Nadine Blaney, Fort Air Partnership Executive Director; Ryerson Christie, Program Manager, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Land Trust Society; and Brenda Gheran, Northeast Region Community Awareness Emergency Response Executive Director.

In 2009, five local organizations recognized a need, and created a solution, to make information about industrial operations and development easily accessible to the community. Since then, Life in the Heartland has become an increasingly valuable information resource for residents.

“Life in the Heartland’s partner organizations are all a piece of the large and complex puzzle that is the Heartland region,” explains Vanessa Goodman, Chair of Life in the Heartland. “Residents want to stay informed about what’s happening locally. Before Life in the Heartland was launched, it was a challenge to find accurate information in one place.”

The Heartland region is dynamic, and in the last five years, some things have changed and some haven’t. One of Life in the Heartland’s roles includes maintaining an understanding of the community’s views and types of information residents seek.

A look at data collected in the Heartland area since 2009 shows the following trends:

  • Environment (air and water) topped the list as most important topics of interest in 2009, and holds that spot today. Currently, 94% of people state they are very or somewhat interested in air quality and water quality/quantity.
  • Transportation was one of the least important topics of interest five years ago. With industrial and municipal growth and increased pressures on the road network, transportation now ranks among the top 3, with close to 95% stating they are very or somewhat interested.
  • In 2010, the community was most satisfied with the management of safety and emergency response in the region. This topic remains at the top as over 82% of respondents are currently satisfied with how well it is being managed.
  • Printed newsletters and local newspapers continue as the leading choices for obtaining information though social media and open houses are both rising in popularity. The ways to connect with residents has increased, including local radio and new social media tools.


Stories of Success

Celebrating success is important to Life in the Heartland. “We involved people from across the Heartland to help mark our 5th anniversary by collecting their stories about industry in the community,” says Vanessa Goodman, Life in the Heartland Chair. “We put the call out, and here are a few we received.”

Tree planting in Fort Saskatchewan

Five years of tree plantings at the Shell Urban Forest in Fort Saskatchewan, at the intersection of Highways 15 and 21. It was encouraging to see residents of all ages join forces in the snow, rain and summer-like weather. Just as impressive is how, today, that ‘forest’ has really taken root along the urban trail system!

4-H Legacy Project

The Bon Accord 4-H Beef Club was looking to establish a legacy project by setting up a scholarship program for members. Petro Canada and other companies were canvassed by 4-H club members and leaders, and invited to attend the annual beef show and sale. Industry started coming and buying steers. They would resell them and donate that money to the scholarship program. Access Pipeline has continued to do this and Pembina Pipeline is now involved as well, having bought the top steer at the most recent show and sale.

Teddy Bears for Babies

In 2012, Keyera contributed $150,000 to the Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital Foundation to sponsor the labour & delivery suites of the new hospital – specifically selected since it’s typically the happiest place in any hospital! Keyera followed that up in 2013 with the donation of teddy bears wearing blue or pink Keyera t-shirts, with the intention that they be given to any child born at the hospital or any children coming through emergency, whether they are a patient or are there because a family member is a patient.

Homes for Families in Need

In August 2012, Dow had the honour of presenting house keys to a family in our community who will live in the home they built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity (Edmonton) and the City of Fort Saskatchewan.

“Dow and Habitat are like minded in our passion for providing safe, affordable housing to families close to home in our site communities and all around the world,” said Shawna Bruce, Public Affairs Manager for Dow Canada.” As a corporate citizen, we believe our contribution to community projects helps to build sustainable communities and we are proud to continue to join hands with Habitat in its mission.”

The build for the duplex began in October 2011 and was part of a legacy project for the community in celebration of Dow Fort Saskatchewan’s 50th Anniversary. Dow employees and retirees worked on the long term build which backs onto the property of the home they built with Habitat in 2007.
Dow Chemical has been an integral part of the Fort Saskatchewan community and a major supporter of Habitat through this their second lead sponsorship of a Fort Saskatchewan Habitat home. Dow’s support will provide a “hand up” to a local family and (since Habitat homes remain in the affordable housing pool) will continue to serve families in need for decades to come.

Habitat families purchase homes at market value from Habitat for Humanity, but pay an interest-free mortgage. Their payments are never more than 25 percent of their income. The interest-free mortgage is what makes Habitat homes affordable. Since Habitat homes are paid for up front through financial donations, gift-in-kind construction material donations and volunteer labour, the families’ mortgage payments are then reinvested into building more Habitat homes; making Habitat’s program sustainable.

Community Bus for Bruderheim

The Town of Bruderheim is trying to support our residents with another key piece of infrastructure by supplying a community bus which could transport many of our residents. Inter Pipeline stepped up and gave ~ $50,000 to aid our residents. This is just another example of the great support our wonderful friends & neighbours in business and industry in stepping forward to support the Town of Bruderheim.


Region Gets Next Generation Notification Technology

Mayor Gale Katchur signs up for the new alert system on Fort Saskatchewan Fire Chief Clark’s iPad

New public alerting technology offered in the region gives residents the option to select the types of alerts they wish to receive and ways to receive them. This new technology replaces the regional telephone notification system originally implemented by NRCAER members in 2003.

“We’ve seen a decade of technology advances, community growth and new ways to communicate,” says Brenda Gheran, Executive Director with NRCAER. “In an emergency, getting the right information to the right people at the right time is always critical,” Gheran notes. “At one time, land lines were among the most effective method to reach residents, however today’s reality is very different, and it’s now resident’s choice.”

The new alerting technology relies on residents to register online. “Registering takes a few minutes, and for it to work, residents need to do their part,” Gheran states. Once registered, you can update your information and preferences as they change. The previous telephone notification system will be discontinued at the end of June. The UPDATEline 1-866-653-9959 will continue as it is today. More information and registration links can be found at http://www.nrcaer.com/notification.


Emergency Response Exercise in June Tests Readiness

Strathcona County Deputy Fire Chief Vern Elliott (right) mentors Bruderheim Fire Captain Shayne Milliken at the June 4 NRCAER exercise.

More than 60 emergency management professionals representing 27 agencies participated in NRCAER’s exercise on June 4 in Bruderheim. Responders were given a scenario and then worked through emergency response plans and procedures. Testing is important to ensure plans are validated, that responders have an opportunity to develop skills and capabilities, and they strengthen relationships prior to an incident.

“The scenario involved a train derailment in the Town of Bruderheim, which at first called for residents in a certain subdivision to shelter in place,” says Brenda Gheran, NRCAER’s Executive Director. “It then escalated to a full evacuation of the town and included a multi-agency response, and activating NRCAER mutual aid.”

The exercise tested incident command, operations, public information, planning and logistics, and emergency operation centre functions, and was the dry run for a live exercise to be held in the fall. “Our members are dedicated to public safety in the region, and have a long history of working together,” Gheran notes. “When a large incident occurs, it will be all hands on deck, and knowing each other in advance leads to a more effective response.”

Life in the Heartland

Community Survey Gift Card Winners

Thanks to all who shared your views by completing our community survey last month. Congratulations to Larry Hickman from Fort Saskatchewan and Alice Radke, who lives near Fort Saskatchewan. They were the winners of $100 VISA gift cards. Anyone who completed our short survey was eligible for the prizes.


Did You Know?

Employment opportunities and community investment program links are now on our website!

Life in the Heartland’s website is full of valuable information, facts and resources. We recently added links to employment opportunities at companies in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. In addition, thousands of dollars are available each year for local non-profits, schools, volunteers, and community groups through industry’s community investment and grant programs. We’ve provided links directly to each company’s site so the information is easy to find.

If you know of additional employment or community investment program links for companies who operate in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, please email info@lifeintheheartland.com and we’ll get them posted.