IMAGINE THIS: Your beautiful baby boy is nearly one. You smile every time you think of the day he was born. The look in his daddy’s eyes when he first held his baby boy made you realise how much love you could have for another person, and how proud you were that you had created such perfection. That moment was when all your dreams became a reality. Today, the look in his daddy’s eyes is very different. You know too well the heart-wrenching look your husband gets when it is time to leave you and your almost one year old and head back for his 2 weeks away at work. Yesterday your son took his first steps, and his dad missed it.
This scenario is easy to imagine for many of the transient families working in Fort McMurray: fathers, mothers, husbands and wives travelling away from their families to work and missing out on the milestones in life. Are you one of these mothers, fathers, husbands or wives? Have you stopped lately and thought – What are you missing out on?
We asked the Home Town Experts with a World of Experience® at RE/MAX Fort McMurray to help debunk some of the common myths that prevent people from making the move to Fort McMurray, resulting in them continuing to miss out on their family milestones.
What makes the RE/MAX team qualified to help debunk these myths? The RE/MAX team all live and work in Fort McMurray, are a part of immediate and extended families that also live and work in Fort McMurray. Some of the RE/MAX team have been fortunate to grow up in our unique city and all have the pleasure of working with many clients who are looking to make Fort McMurray home. Many of the RE/MAX Fort McMurray team, have husbands, wives, mothers, fathers or children that work in the resource industry (as almost 50% of Fort McMurray residence do), and they are proud to have made a decision to not miss out on their moments together and #CallYMMHome.
Myth 1: Fort McMurray is a male dominated city
According to the 2012 Municipal Census, the number of men in Fort McMurray does outweigh the women at 60:40 ratio, however according to local women, they certainly do not “dominate” the city. Ottlie Munro, RE/MAX Associate and one of the co-founders of community group HALOS, clarified that Fort McMurray is full of dominant women. “My favourite thing about Fort McMurray is how empowered and energetic women are. Many women have identified a need within the city and have found a way to fill it. Women hold important roles within their employment, they have an added hobby that they have turned into a successful side business, they hold networking events to connect and learn from each other”. One example is the charities and non-profit organizations in Fort McMurray that are making a difference within the community, many with these empowered women on their board.
Our Fort McMurray (female) Mayor, Melissa Blake stated in the Edmonton Journal that a female mayor is no different to a male mayor, except the choice reflects the community’s defiance of stereotypes. She is also an accomplished woman who was nominated for the Women of Inspiration Award, has twice been named in Alberta Venture as one of the provinces Top 50 Influential People, was featured on Women of Vision by Global Television and inducted into Keyano’s Distinguished Alumni – just to name a few.
Yes, it is a fact that the Fort McMurray population is dominated by men, but do they dominate the city. Maybe they could if the women gave them a chance.
Myth 2: There is nothing to do in Fort McMurray but work
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”
Does the hint of summer in the air bring a smile to your face? In Fort McMurray you don’t need to wait for summer to get out of the house for some fun as there are an abundance of activities available right within Wood Buffalo. “Where else in the world could I live where my children have a ski hill, motocross track, horse riding and my husband has a lake for fishing and boating, virtually at our doorstep?” asks RE/MAX Broker, Katie Ekroth.
“I call Fort McMurray the land of opportunity” says RE/MAX Associate Bryan Seredynski, and opportunities to be involved in the community and connect with new people are always available. You can visit MacDonald Island Park to enjoy the water park, curling, or rock climbing, stop by Shell Place which will feature the first Canadian Football League game this year between Edmonton Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders and visit the Huskies at the Keyano Sport and Wellness centre to name a few opportunities for entertainment that Fort McMurray can offer.
Myth 3: Fort McMurray is not a family friendly city
The Northern Lights Hospital is delivering an average of 100 new Fort McMurray residence each month. With its growing numbers, the city is continuously accommodating for child-friendly, stroller-loving families. The city offers a number of sporting activities with numerous basketball courts, ball diamonds, football and soccer fields, tennis and volleyball courts. However, even with a large number of children’s activities, our favourite activity takes place at home every day when families get to be together for supper, for birthdays, for thanksgiving and for Christmas.
Erin Ogren, a RE/MAX associate, and her family made the decision to move to Fort McMurray for that exact reason. “We tried commuting for nearly 10 months” says Erin, “and as much as I love to be near family and friends, my priority was to see my husband every day and my children to see their father every day, and everyone else on occasion versus the opposite. Fort McMurray provided me with the gift of staying home with my children in their younger years and, now that they are older, it provides them with so much opportunity between the wonderful schools and sport programs within the community.”
The fact here is – What is more family friendly than sharing every special moment together, not just the occasional one.
Myth 4: Fort McMurray is too expensive
Look at some cold hard facts about Fort McMurrayy: The current average single family detached home is $746,202.
According to the Municipal Census, over ¼ of Fort McMurray households reported an annual income of more than $250,000 and 55% of households reported an income of more than $180,000.
In the same census, Calgary average income was $98,300, Edmonton average income a little lower at $96,030 and Ottawa average is lower again at $94,230.
Homes in Fort McMurray may be higher than the Alberta average but the average income is also higher than the reported Alberta average. The positive here – Fort McMurray average household income is more than 33% of our average mortgage, putting Fort McMurray residence much further ahead than Edmonton (Income is only 22% of their mortgage) or Calgary (where income is just 17% of their mortgage).
What are you missing out on?
That moment when your wife gets a positive result on her pregnancy test, the second your baby takes his first steps, when your daughter’s eyes search for you at her ballet recital, when your son’s first puck hits the back of the net, the moment your youngest child learns to ride a bike, the second your husband opens his eyes on your wedding anniversary, the laughter at your dad’s 50th birthday party, the excitement on your son’s face when he passes his learners test, the knock at the door when your daughter’s first date arrives, that phone call your son gets to let him know he is accepted into an apprenticeship, your daughters nervousness when she receives her college acceptance in the mail.
You may not miss all these moments, you may only miss some or you may decide it’s time to call the empowering, family friendly, land of opportunity home.
The views and statistics within this article are the opinions and interpretations of market data by the author.
IMAGES COURTESY OF PATTISON OUTDOOR ADVERTISING