BY VIC SAARI, P.ENG.
Fort McMurray Branch Chair
The oil sands industry is booming. Activity in northeastern Alberta has experienced steady growth for the past decade, and recent events on the world scene have increased interest and the action considerably.
As a result, the City of Fort McMurray and the surroun-ding region are experiencing phenomenal growth, which is unprecedented in the province and the country.
APEGGA members play an important role in this activity. Not only are they involved in projects directly related to the development and expansion of oil sands projects, but they are also involved in the development of the infrastructure and facilities required to support the tremendous growth in the population of Fort McMurray and surrounding communities.
Currently there are 865 APEGGA members employed in the Fort McMurray area on a permanent basis — and unknown others who commute on a regular basis from Edmonton and Calgary to work on specific assignments.
Busy Area, Busy Branch
The branch has planned a series of events for the year. The main objectives are
to enhance the image of the professions in the community
to promote science and technology in local schools
to provide professional development opportunities to our members
to provide an opportunity for networking and socializing between members.
The Oil Sands Discovery Centre celebrated its 20th anniversary on Sept. 9 and APEGGA was recognized at this function as a major sponsor.
APEGGA also participated in the Oil Sands Trade Show held on Sept. 14 and 15 in Fort McMurray. The booth provided information not only to APEGGA members but to the community at large.
The Outreach Program involves participation with the local schools and the Oil Sands Discovery Centre. Our involvement includes presentation of APEGGA Teacher Awards, and providing judges and assistance for events such as the Science Olympics and the Lego Challenge. This is done in conjunction with the Oil Sands Discovery Centre and National Engineering & Geoscience Week.
One of the major challenges faced by the branch is in providing opportunities for continuing professional development to our members at reasonable costs. A video teleconference was presented in September and it is hoped that this format may provide a means of presenting future workshops and seminars.
An APEGGA information night is planned so that E.I.T.s and professionals from other provinces and countries can learn about requirements for APEGGA registration.
The branch has also planned several social events so that members may leave the stress of work behind for an evening and come out to socialize and network with fellow members. These events include a bowling night, a trivia quiz night, a ski night, and a wine and cheese night.
Due to the rapid growth of the community and the constant movement of personnel, it is a real challenge to make and hold contact with members. Our executive is doing an excellent job in this endeavor and will continue to do so.