A L B E R T A â€™ S
N O R T H
P E A C E
C O U N T R Y
Albertaâ€™s North Peace Country offers vibrant communities, a stable economic environment, and business and recreational opportunities galore
see for yourself Discover why the North Peace Country is the perfect place to live, work, and play
economic engines See what makes the region so attractive and diverse for doing business
alberta’s north peace country Discover the Perfect Balance was produced for Alberta’s North Peace Country by JuneWarrenNickle’s Energy Group to highlight the economic pillars, communities, and other drawing points of the North Peace Country. For more information, please contact Mat Bergeron, Economic Development & Project Coordinator for Northern Sunrise County, at
Facts & figures
JUNEWARREN-nickle’s energy group
PRESIDENT & CEO Bill Whitelaw email@example.com
■ County of Northern Lights:
PUBLISHER Agnes Zalewski firstname.lastname@example.org
■ Town of Manning:
associate publisher & editor Chaz Osburn email@example.com
■ Lac Cardinal Regional Economic Development Board (combined
Interim Art Director Ken Bessie firstname.lastname@example.org
populations of the Village of Berwyn, Municipal District of Peace No. 135, and
production, Pre-press & Print Manager Michael Gaffney email@example.com
Town of Grimshaw):
publications manager Audrey Sprinkle firstname.lastname@example.org
■ Town of Grimshaw:
CREATIVE SERVICES supervisor Tina Tomljenovic email@example.com
■ Town of Peace River:
GRAPHIC DESIGNER Cathlene Ozubko firstname.lastname@example.org
■ Northern Sunrise County: ■ Village of Nampa:
Publications SUPERVISOR Rianne Stewart email@example.com
Editorial Assistance Joseph Caouette, Samantha Kapler, Marisa Kurlovich, Kelley Stark firstname.lastname@example.org
P A R T N E R S
F O R
P R O G R E S S
Calgary – North #300, 5735 - 7 Street NE, Calgary, Alberta T2E 8V3 Tel: 403.265.3700 Fax: 403.265.3706 Toll Free: 1.888.563.2946 Calgary – Downtown #300, 999 - 8 Street NW, Calgary, Alberta T2R 1N7 Tel: 403.209.3500 Fax: 403.245.8666 Toll Free: 1.800.387.2446 Edmonton 6111 - 91 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta T6E 6V6 Tel: 780.944.9333 Fax: 780.944.9500 Toll Free: 1.800.563.2946
Peace Region Economic Development Alliance (PREDA)
Centre for Research & Innovation (CRI)
Peace Region Economic Development Alliance (PREDA) is a partnership of municipalities, educational institutions, business groups, and government agencies working together to guide regional economic development of Alberta’s Peace Country.
The Centre for Research & Innovation (CRI) helps inventors take their dreams from the drawing board to the real world, and acts as a meeting place for innovators to connect with scientists, researchers, investors, and mentors.
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Contents 4 Welcome to Alberta’s North Peace Country
You‘ll find it‘s a great place to live, do business, and play
6 Oil and gas
One of the world‘s largest oilsands deposits is buried beneath energy-rich region
From beef cattle to bees, North Peace is a “good, solid farming area“
Local industry‘s innovativeness and resolve stand up to economic buzz saw
Nature’s playground doesn’t get any better than the North Peace Country
14 County of Northern Lights
Light up your future
Land of the mighty moose
16 Lac Cardinal Regional Economic Development Board
Offering a menu of services to potential developers
A history of rising to challenges
18 Peace River
Beautiful by nature, diverse by culture, vibrant by choice
19 Northern Sunrise County
Things look bright for an area with its eye on the future
Find out why it‘s “the place“ to be
21 Community Futures Peace Country
Relying on “ePower“ to fuel economic diversification
22 Post-secondary education
Northern Lakes College plays major role in region
22 First Nation and Métis
Aboriginal communities add to region‘s culture
23 We’ve got you covered
No shortage of emergency services in the region
A L B E R T A ’ S
Welcome to Alberta’s North Peace Country You’ll find it’s a great place to live, do business, and play
North Peace Country has been dubbed the “Golden Triangle.” The stanchions of a strong economy—oil, agriculture, and forestry—are deep-rooted in the North Peace. And thanks to its spectacular landscape, the tourism sector is ramping up as well. The North Peace is home to the ripening potential of the Peace River oilsands, the third largest oilsands deposit in Canada. Players such as Shell Canada, Baytex Energy Trust, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Talisman Energy, Murphy Oil, Penn West Energy Trust, and North Peace Energy are working to develop the resource in a responsible and sustainable manner. A major focus of these companies is on finding innovative, more efficient ways to extract a higher percentage of oil from conventional reservoirs. Alberta’s oilsands reserve is considered to be one of the largest in the world, containing 1.7 trillion barrels of bitumen initially in-place. Of this total, it is estimated that 173 billion barrels will remain as established reserves—current technology allows for the recovery of these. To date, about three per cent of the initial established resource has been produced. This is the province’s frontier: Northern Alberta includes 60 per cent of Alberta’s land mass and is home to approximately 295,000 people—nine per cent of the province’s population. This area is a significant contributor to Alberta’s oil and gas prosperity, generating over $27 billion annually with 36 per cent of Alberta’s natural gas and 58 per cent of the province’s oil production. As will be further demonstrated, expansion of conventional oil using new heavy oil recovery technology has created an 4
opportunity for growth in the oilfield service sector, readily apparent in the communities of Peace River, Manning, Grimshaw, and Nampa. Thousands of hectares of timber have spurred the forestry sector in the North Peace for decades. The Daishowa-Marubeni Peace River Pulp Mill spends approximately $76 million per year in supply and services, employs about 340 workers and another 400 contractors, and has invested approximately $4 billion in the operation since startup 20 years ago. Nearby, Manning Diversified Forest Products Ltd. and Boucher Brothers Lumber Ltd. continue their leading role here in what is Alberta’s third largest primary industry sector. The local impact is significant. Teresa Tupper, Reeve for the County of Northern Lights, says the municipality recognizes the valuable contribution the oil and gas and forestry sectors have made to our local economy. “Not only has it been a strong source of employment for residents,” she proclaims, “it has also facilitated the development of a skilled workforce and provided numerous opportunities for local entrepreneurs.” Approximately 90 per cent of the Alberta’s productive forests are found in Northern Alberta. Lumber, panel board, and pulp and paper production in northern Alberta accounted for the lion’s share of the province’s forestry revenues each year. That kind of strength is a huge boon to local communities. Tim Lanteigne, Peace River Pulp Mill’s general manager, says his operation contributes more than $4 million annually to property taxes to the County of Northern Lights. The North Peace was built on a rich legacy of agriculture, and that continues today.
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The long summer days and cool nights produce premium wheat, Timothy hay, and fescue. Attributes such as above-average precipitation and pest problems mitigated by the North Peace Country’s relatively isolated position are envied elsewhere. Cattle production is buoyed by lower land prices. And honey produced here is world-renowned for its quality.
The stanchions of a strong economy— oil, agriculture, and forestry—are deeprooted in the North Peace.
A true Canadian experience But there is certainly more than economics at work here in the North Peace. The town of Peace River, northwestern Alberta’s second largest service centre, is poised to launch into the future. Arguably one of the most picturesque communities in Alberta, Peace River’s beauty is more than skin deep. A full range of adventure and recreational activities are offered to residents and visitors alike. An excellent retail core, an array of hotels, motels, and restaurants, as well as an indoor pool, arena, curling rink, ski hill, children’s water
spray park, live theatre, cinema, and several kilometres of groomed walking/crosscountry ski trails along the river offer a host of amenit ies t y pically found only in larger centres. Then there are charming communities such as Grimshaw, Manning, and Nampa, which offer a bit of a small-town feel with a big-town lifestyle. Across the North Peace, a vibrant cultural heritage and a population of industrious and innovative residents are evident. A number of Francophone, Aboriginal, and Métis communities infuse the region with the true flair of bilingualism that Canada prides itself in. The North Peace Country is a place to live, work, and play alike. Visitors from around the world are drawn here to partake in the best nature has to offer. One of the most beautiful scenic settings in Alberta, the North Peace is a vast unspoiled wilderness, where wildlife, pure water, and wide-open sky abound. The Peace River region is considered one of the finest bear, big game, and waterfowl hunting areas. Hundreds of years ago, Sir Alexander Mackenzie was one of the first to see the potential of the North Peace in his journey along the Mighty Peace River when he set up Fort Fork. Settlements date back to the 1700s, when the first Hudson’s Bay Company fur traders arrived in the region along the Peace River. After the rail line was established, settlement had begun in earnest by the early 1900s. The North Peace has come a long way since then. Experience the beauty, adventure, and history this region has to offer.• 5
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Oil and gas One of world’s largest oilsands deposits is buried beneath energy-rich region by Rebecca Dika photography by Joey Podlubny
Shell Canada, which bought out BlackRock Ventures in 2006, has a big presence in Alberta’s North Peace region.
With a reputation for its cache of oil and gas resources, Alberta’s
Peace region has long held an ace or two up its sleeve. The Peace River oilsands deposit contains an estimated 130 billion barrels in place. It is one of Alberta’s three major oilsands deposits, which cover over 142,200 square kilometres, and still has a wealth of potential for further development. Shell Canada is one of the biggest players, holding leases in the area since the 1950s. Shell also has assets in the other two oilsands regions of the province, with an estimated 60 billion barrels of oil in place in Alberta—of which about 10 per cent is minable and the rest is in situ. “Over the years, we have tried a number of technologies to unlock the economic potential of our Peace River leases,” says Shell spokeswoman Adrienne Lamb. She says the key to developing in situ oilsands resources is matching the right technology to the right reservoir. “Technological advances are vital for oilsands in situ developments and serve to reduce costs and energy consumption, maximize recovery from existing reservoirs, and minimize environmental effects,” she says. In the Peace River area, the main recovery mechanisms currently use thermal (cyclic steam stimulation, or CSS) and cold technology. Shell has been producing bitumen from its leases since 1979 with the start-up of a small pilot project. The Peace River Complex, with a current capacity of about 12,500 barrels of bitumen per day, has been in operation since 1986. The Peace River Complex is 100 per cent owned by Shell.
Full steam ahead
Shell’s Peace River Complex uses steam to aid in recovery of the bitumen.
The Peace River Complex uses steam to aid in recovery of the bitumen. Steam is injected into the reservoir via wells to heat the bitumen and make it fluid enough to be pumped to the surface and transported to the complex for further processing before it’s sent to market via pipeline. Once the reservoir cools and production is complete, the cycle of steaming begins again. This method is CSS. In addition to the thermal production, Shell operates two other primary bitumen production facilities on its Peace River leases. Shell employs about 150 staff and contractors at its three facilities, most of whom live in a nearby communities of Peace River, Grimshaw, St. Isidore, Marie Reine, and Nampa.
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OILSAND FACTS To understand the importance of the Peace River oilsands deposit, consider that: • Alberta ranks second only to Saudi Arabia in global proven oil reserves. • From 2000–2007, an estimated $67 billion was invested in oilsands projects in Alberta—including those in the Peace River region. Roadside signs showing where energy companies are drilling or doing exploratory work are common.
“Shell believes our Peace River leases represent a tremendous development opportunity for the company over the longer term,” Lamb says. Shell, like other companies, made some changes to its business planning during the global recession to maintain its competitiveness. Shell has in some cases reduced the level of activities or slowed down the pace of some of its projects in an effort to manage its costs during this down cycle. Shell continues to work on preparing a regulatory application for the expansion project. “Our intention is to take a phased approach to develop our entire Peace River asset base over time to extract the most value from the resource and to do so in a socially and environmentally responsible manner,” Lamb says. “As we look to develop our Peace River assets, we will continue to consult with stakeholders to get their input.” While the oilsands remain a rich resource, the region has even more to offer.
Heavy oil expansion Baytex Energy Trust, a Calgary-based oil producer, is drilling more wells and expanding operations at its Seal area property in northern Alberta, following its 100 per cent success rate in the area. Baytex, which has a 100 per cent working interest in 105 sections located in the Seal area of the Peace River oilsands, is exploring the viability of increasing its production from a current 6,000 barrels a day. “We have a very large opportunity to expand our heavy oil production,” says Baytex President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Marino. “Peace River is one of the lowest cost projects, both from a capital and operating cost perspective, in North America.” He says project economics have also benefited from a decrease in the heavy oil price differential. Heavy oil prices traditionally trade at about a 30 per cent discount to light crude oil prices, but the former is gaining and the price difference has dropped below 20 per cent—a record low. Marino attributes the positive movement to factors such as North American refineries expanding heavy oil processing capacities to process heavy oil and an expanding pipeline network.
• The oilsands industry is expected to generate more than five million person-years of employment— 56 per cent of which will be created in Alberta. • The Peace River deposit has around 130 billion barrels in place. To put that into the larger context, Alberta’s oilsands reserve contains 1.7 trillion barrels of bitumen in place. Of this, 173 billion barrels are considered to be remaining established reserves, recoverable using current technology under present and anticipated economic conditions. Thus far, about three per cent of the initial established resource has been produced. Source: http://oilsands.alberta.ca/documents/Overview.pdf
Baytex plans to use both cold primary and thermal recovery at its Seal property, Marino says. He says Baytex has completed a thermal pilot project at Seal and is expecting to commence a commercial thermal development pro ject there in 2011. Northern Alberta is a significant contributor to the province’s oil and gas prosperity, generating over $27 billion annually with 36 per cent of Alberta’s natural gas and 58 per cent of the province’s oil production. Northern Alberta has almost all of Canada’s oilsands development and is one of the world’s two largest sources of bitumen. Oilsands production represents about 58 per cent of Alberta’s and 39 per cent of Canada’s total crude oil and equivalent production. In 2005, total crude bitumen production in Alberta averaged over one million barrels per day. The Peace River oilsands have attracted companies such as Penn West Energy Trust, Murphy Oil Corp., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Talisman Energy, and North Peace Energy. The expansion of conventional oil using new heavy oil recovery technology has created an opportunity for oilfield servicing com panies to establish a base of operations in and around the town of Peace River and surrounding communities. There is more room for development. Producers have only scratched the surface. •
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Agriculture From beef cattle to bees, North Peace is a “good, solid farming area” by Rebecca Dika
Crops benefit from longer daylight hours during the late spring and summer months.
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Alberta’s North Peace region is well-known for its delicious honey.
A gricultural producers in the North Peace are facing the same chal-
lenges as those across western Canada, but unique geographical benefits provide a leg up. The long summer days and cool nights of the Peace region provide advantages that make the area stand out: Perfect for growing Timothy hay and fescue. Factor in lower land prices and this is an area ripe for economic growth. Northern Alberta accounted for $372 million of the province’s international agriculture exports (Stats Canada 2005, the most recent statistics available), including 22 per cent of Alberta’s crop and five per cent of the province’s international livestock exports. Honey production is a key area of the Northern Alberta’s sector, with some 37 per cent of Alberta’s bee colonies found in the region. Terry Schamehorn, Agricultural Fieldman for the County of Northern Lights, concedes drought and pest problems have made their mark across the Peace; however, geographical advantages compensate and allow the region to flourish. “Our annual rainfall is typically above normal for precipitation amounts across Alberta,” Schamehorn says.
Summer bounty Cold winters mean there are usually less pest problems for North Peace producers and the area’s long summer days contribute to bountiful harvests. Factor in lower land prices—particularly advantageous for cattlemen—and the North Peace is a favourable environment for producers. “The Peace country is isolated from the rest of the province,” he points out. “The band of forest from Whitecourt to Valleyview acts as a boundary for the spread of pest and crop disease.” Northern Vigour is a big plus for the Peace country, Schamehorn adds. “Crops do better because of the longer daylight hours, and we have a growing season that is quite similar to the rest of Alberta. Northern Vigour refers to the plant’s ability to adapt to its climate, and is found across Peace area crops.
It’s not uncommon for southern Alberta cattle producers to ship their cows north in the summer to graze.
“The crops survive and strengthen under extreme conditions,” he explains. “Northern Vigour seed planted down south, for example, will do that much better,” says Schamehorn. “It doesn’t matter what nature throws at it, it will survive and improve in other climates.” Wheat, Timothy hay, fescue, and grass seeds such as brome are very successful in the Peace.
A leg up “It’s a distinct advantage when we market to Europe because we have a solid reputation for less diseases and pests,” Schamehorn says. “Asian and European markets like the seed that comes out of particular areas, and the Peace Country is one of them.” Community pastures are usually available in the Peace, and Schamehorn notes that southern Alberta cattle producers will bring stock up to the Peace country for summer grazing. The Alberta cattle industry continues to struggle with low prices and the aftermath of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis that hit Canada in 2003. But lower land prices have brought more than a few producers north, Schamehorn says. Evens Lavoie, who is also Deputy Reeve of Northern Sunrise County, thinks the district is a fine place to do business. The Lavoie family has farmed in the Peace region for more than 50 years. Enterprises Macay Inc., a company the Lavoie family founded in St. Isidore near Peace River in 1995, has been working hard to build a premium international market for Timothy hay for Japan, Korea, and Taiwan’s domestic beef, dairy, and horse industries. The Peace’s cooler climate, shorter growing season, distinctive soil characteristics, and geographical isolation make it an ideal location for targeting specific attributes such as high sugar content, says Lavoie. This combination produces sweeter hay, leading to higher feed consumption and improved bovine quality. By leveraging the unique growing conditions and using an innovative hay drying and compression system, Macay is able to alleviate many of the risks traditionally associated with supplying high-quality product to the hay export market. As Lavoie attests: “The North Peace is a good, solid farming area.”•
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Forestry Local industry’s innovativeness Xx and resolve stand up to economic Xx buzz saw
by Rebecca Dika by Rebecca Dika Ample timber reserves are abundant for pulp and lumber producers.
As the third largest primary industry sector in Alberta, forestry’s
long-term viability is crucial to the province’s economic success. In recent years, Alberta’s forestry sector generated $8.4 billion in revenues and employed more than 54,000 Albertans as well as another 15,000 in the supply and services sector, according to Tim Lanteigne, general manager of the Peace River Pulp Mill. Northern Alberta is a major contributor to the forestry sector. One of the biggest players in the North Peace is Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd. (DMI) through its Peace River Pulp Division. The company has invested about $4 billion in the operation since start-up nearly two decades ago. Of that, DMI spends about $76 million per year in supply and services, mostly in Alberta. The sector’s challenges are widespread—ranging from low market prices, distance to markets, and fluctuations in world currencies— and northern Alberta producers are not immune. Its forest management area covers one-sixth the land mass of the province: 2.9 million hectares. The mill’s annual production goals are approximately 475,000 air-dried metric tonnes, with 70 per cent allocated to hardwood and 30 per cent to softwood. The Peace River Pulp site is in the top quartile of low-cost producers in North America, says Lanteigne.
“The fibre on our FMA [forest management area] provides us with some very distinct advantages,” says Lanteigne. “The hardwood species is predominantly aspen, while the softwood is made up mostly of spruce. This enables us to produce a very uniform and consistent product without a lot of variability.” Approximately 90 per cent of the softwood and 45 per cent of hardwood produced at Peace River Pulp is exported to the United States. The rest is exported mostly to Asian markets. DMI employs about 340 permanent, temporary, and contract workers. The fibre-procurement side of the operation employs 400 contractors utilizing eight chippers that work in the bush. “We’ll bring in approximately 16 per cent of our annual hardwood volume in log form directly into our yard,” says Lanteigne. It’s an innovative set-up, and it allows for harvesting to be completed during
A L B E R T A ’ S
The timber reserves are also home xxx to abundant wildlife.
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Spruce and aspen are abundant in Alberta’s North Peace Country.
have managed to sustain all that they have built. Asking loggers to hold rates and harvest as close to the mill as possible to reduce hauling costs have all been part of the shift in thinking that encourages cooperation to maintain viability, Arsenault adds. “Clients are still asking for our wood, so we don’t have problems with inventory. “It’s moving well because of the quality of the product.” Cooperation comes from within the companies as well to ensure the success of the industry. For example, MDFP managed to come to an
As the third largest primary industry sector in Alberta, forestry’s long-term viability is crucial to the province’s economic success. agreement with its employees to eliminate the annual paid shutdown operation. By working as a unified company, their efforts have gone a long way to keep MDFP at the competitive heart of the industry. It’s one of the advantages of the climate of small business, says Arsenault. Companies like MDFP and Boucher Bros. Lumber Ltd. in Nampa, Alberta, may be anomalies these days. “Small business is a big deal to Alberta,” asserts Arsenault. “They tend to leave a lot more money in the area they operate in. It’s where they’re from too.” Arsenault says there’s still opportunity in the lumber industry, such as power generation, particularly for smaller operators. MDFP is exploring co-generation initiatives with biomass, projects that could take trucks off the highway by burning biomass on site, for example. There has been positive movement in key market indicators, such as the fact U.S. housing starts are coming back slowly. Access to a solid labour force is better than ever. One advantage of the oilpatch slowdown is better retention of workers by forest companies. “A year and a half ago, we were experiencing a 40 per cent turnover in our workers under five years of service,” says Arsenault. “Now it’s down to 10 per cent turnover, which helps in many ways, such as reducing health and safety training costs.”•
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Tourism Nature’s playground doesn’t get any better than Alberta’s North Peace Country by Rebecca Dika
Snowmobiling opportunities are plentiful during the winter months.
A L B E R T A ’ S
Want to see nature up close? Head north.
The Canadian Force’s iconic Snowbirds demonstration team has performed at the Peace Region Air Show. PHOTO: snowbirds
An ancient Beaver Indian legend invokes the beauty and majesty of the North Peace that beckons people to experience it time and again: “drink the water of the Peace River and you will return.” Many tourists continue to come back annually to take in all there is to offer. Northern Alberta plays host to more than 1.5 million visitors each year, generating revenues in excess of $332 million. Nicole Halvorson, Executive Director of the Mighty Peace Tourist Association, says abundant lakes, forests, and wildlife are the main catalysts behind a growing northern tourism industry. In the North Peace, the tourism business is evolving in tandem with a growing economy. No wonder. Nature’s playground simply doesn’t get any better than this. Capitalizing on the hidden gems of this province’s tourism sector is easy, says Halvorson. The region offers everything from trail riding to fishing, jet boating to bird watching, and world-class hunting to gold panning. “The Mighty Peace provides an all-round outdoor adventure,” says Halvorson. “We want everyone in the world to know what a beautiful part of Canada we live in. There is lots of opportunity to expand the adventure-tourism business incorporating the wilderness and the river.” Here’s just a sampling:
Natural beauty A veritable network of clear, clean lakes and rivers attract campers, hunters, and other outdoors enthusiasts seeking a true wilderness adventure. The whole area is a wonderful showcase for the contrasting seasons. Wonderfully lush green springs fed by an abundance of water sources; long warm days canopied by big blue skies and radiant sunsets that last long into the evening; autumns filled with glowing red, orange, and yellow forests that let out an orchestra of colour that compete with the area’s sunsets; and crisp, cold, white winters that truly represent northern living.
Historical significance The joining of the Peace and the Smoky rivers is called “Sagitawa”— the meeting of the rivers—and this viewpoint of the valley is positively stunning. The name for the Peace River (“Unchaga,” which means “peace” in Cree) came from the late 1700s, when rival Cree and Beaver tribes made a truce at Peace Point.
Up and down the river, European explorers set up forts and trading posts to capitalize on the great riches of the surrounding areas.
Range of activities Winter activities include cross-country and downhill skiing, as well as snowmobiling. In the summer, there are plenty of opportunities to get out there and explore the great outdoors through boating or canoeing and quading. Abundant choices for hiking, biking, and swimming will capture the heart of the outdoor enthusiast. There are a wide variety of golf courses throughout the area. RV and camping sites are plentiful, or visitors can stay at a variety of guest ranches and lodges. Take in a more relaxing event by seeing one of a diverse showing of live theatre productions or peruse shows featuring the works of local artists. Most of these activities can be explored through guided tours or independently as many locals and tourists do. Events for the whole area include the charming Winter Carnivale, lively PeaceFest, a unique pow-wow, and the spectacular Peace Region Air Show. The Alberta Pond Hockey Championships (the qualifier for the world cup) bring in participants and viewers from the entire region and further afield. There are also a host of quad rallies, rodeos, heritage tours, and heritage events throughout the year, located across the region that will keep all types of visitors entertained. Last but not least, a visit to one of the area’s beautiful and pristine provincial parks is something you won’t want to miss.
Abundant wildlife Go fishing in the hundreds of kilometres of the Peace River or the more than 50 lakes, rivers, and ponds for a true northern fishing experience. Fly into a remote location, stay at a fishing lodge, and expect trout, pike, Arctic grayling, walleye, and whitefish. More than 200 kinds of waterfowl and birds offer tremendous variety including songbirds, shore birds, waterfowl, the bald and golden eagle, pelicans, and trumpeter swans. Halvorson says hunters and photographers from around the globe know the district’s reputation for its trophy moose, elk deer, bear, ducks, and geese.•
The County of Northern Lights boasts a mix of prairies, rolling hills, river valleys, and forests.
County of Northern Lights Light up your future by Rebecca Dika
L E A R N
M O R E
phone: 780-836-3348 email: email@example.com go online: www.mdnorth22.ab.ca
PHOTO: Northern Lights #51 © Eric Marcs 2000
A L B E R T A ’ S
What better place to get a clear view of an aurora borealis than the County of Northern Lights?
There’s a high entrepreneurial spirit in the County of Northern Lights,
and promoters of the region are making sure that message is loud and clear. A comprehensive economic development strategy, developed with strong community, business, and political support, provides the foundation for the municipality to maximize on internal and external opportunities. “Our objective is to encourage and support successful entrepreneurship within the region through efficient infrastructure,” reports Director of Finance Jason Warawa. “Job one is ensuring the North Peace is more prominently recognized for our wealth of potential.” Building on a strong foundation of “who we are and what we want to become” is the mandate for the economic development strategy, explains Warawa. “Ultimately, our economic development strategy is designed to stand the test of time through changing councils and populations by working with business, identifying their needs and establishing what we can do to make them more successful.” About 3,500 residents live in the County of Northern Lights, which is bordered by the Peace River and boasts a mix of prairies, rolling hills, forests, and river valleys. “We’re rich in natural resources, opportunity and potential for industry, business and professional pursuits,” says Reeve Teresa Tupper. “At the same time, we offer an array of dynamic recreational choices for residents and visitors alike.” The county has a sound economic foundation: Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd.’s pulp mill and Manning Diversified Forest Products Ltd. have been economic stalwarts in the municipality for decades. Oil and gas exploration, agriculture, and tourism complement the base. The current economic development strategy also recognizes entrepreneurship, with regard to the region’s ability to generate value-added business opportunities as an integral component. Proximity to all resources is a big plus for the municipality. That fact is enhanced by the ease of access to excellent transportation routes. Rail access and Highway 35 (the major connection to points north) are a boon to present and future industrial growth. “Our municipality is committed to ensuring future infrastructure and development decisions that will continue to promote and expand opportunities so that our residents and their families continue to work, play, and retire under the Northern Lights,” says Tupper.•
A L B E R T A ’ S
Manning’s old hospital is now a provincial heritage site.
Manning Land of the mighty moose by Rebecca Dika
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phone: 780-836-3606 email: firstname.lastname@example.org go online: www.manning.govoffice.com
Manning is named after former Alberta Premier Ernest Manning.
The beautiful community of Manning is known as the land of the
mighty moose. There’s a good reason: it’s a hunter and fisherman’s paradise in the natural bush lands of this picturesque town. Manning is hardly a typical northern Alberta town. Named after former Alberta premier Ernest Manning, the community literally flourishes in the summer. Tree-lined streets, a plethora of flowers, and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks are a boon for residents and visitors alike. The scenic Notikewin River meanders through Manning, suiting recreation enthusiasts of all kinds. “When we arrived here six years ago, we experienced a very warm welcome, as well as the beautiful countryside,” recalls Town Councillor Allan Gairns. “It was easy for our family to call Manning home.” A full slate of amenities are in place for the town’s 1,500 residents. Retail, medical, and educational services are in place, as well as a pool, sports centre, ball diamonds, teen centre, and river walking trails. Camping and golf experiences are at your doorstep in Manning. Condy Meadows is a nine-hole course situated in a beautiful river valley 15 kilometres north of the town. And yes, even winter is fun here. A ski hill just minutes outside Manning offers five runs and a T-bar lift. Sledding opportunities are endless. Due to the diversified economy that supports Manning, the community has prospered as its businesses grew to support the evergrowing agricultural, forestry, and gas and oil industries. Some of Canada’s finest agriculture crops come from this community. By 1915, settlers discovered that 17-hour long summer days and warm temperatures create a short but very productive growing season. Today you will find a diverse agricultural industry here in the North Peace. As far back as the 1920s, sawmills have been harvesting the vast expanses of timber carpeting the Peace region. The establishment of Manning Diversified Forest Products Ltd. and Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd. use state-of-the-art wood processing facilities. A good mix of small, medium, and large timber-based businesses, along with the main office of the Mackenzie Ranger District, round out the forestry base in this area.•
A L B E R T A ’ S
Established in 2000, the Lac Cardinal Regional Economic Development Board is a regional municipal initiative of the Municipal District of Peace No.135, the Village of Berwyn, and the Town of Grimshaw.
Regional Economic Development Board Offering a menu of services to potential developers by Rebecca Dika
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phone: 780-332-1169 email: email@example.com go online: www.lcredb-ecdev.com
Located in Grimshaw, Mile Zero of the Mackenzie Highway represents the Lac Cardinal region’s importance as a transportation corridor to the north.
It makes good sense that the Lac Cardinal Regional Economic
Development Board serves as a centre for business connectivity in the North Peace. The board serves a district at the hub of a major transportation corridor. Mile Zero of the historical Mackenzie Highway (Highway 35), Highway 2 from Grande Prairie, and Highway 49 from Valleyview converge here. The area also boasts the railhead to the Northwest Territories, and the Peace River Airport is located within its boundaries. Established in 2000, the Lac Cardinal Regional Economic Development Board is a regional municipal initiative of the Municipal District of Peace No.135, the Village of Berwyn, and the Town of Grimshaw. Economic Development Officer Mark Rieder says each has distinct strengths and is able to provide specific benefits for prospective developers. A regional economic development board is a bit unique, he points out, but it works. “We are able to offer a menu of services based on the strengths of each of our communities,” explains Rieder. “That’s appealing to a potential developer.” The board is in the process of developing an economic development strategy for the region, he adds. Currently, the board is in the early stages of branding work, based on the shared vision of honouring the past, celebrating the present, and reaching for the future. There are some special projects already afoot here, including a proposed industrial area near the airport as well as the potential for a modular home assembly plant. Once complete in late 2009, the strategy will nicely augment A Strategic Plan for 2009 and Beyond. This plan is a three-pronged approach to sustainability. A housing strategy as well as commercial and industrial components make up a five-year plan that Rieder says will “help guide us toward responsible development with projects that will suit our parameters or, if we establish specific targets, arm us with strategies to approach developers.” With a relatively small population base—just under 5,000—the district must work to be competitive with larger players, notes Rieder. “We want to be recognized as being attractive to developers, with much to offer.”•
A L B E R T A ’ S
The Town of Grimshaw is a thriving community that prides itself on being “Mile Zero on the Mackenzie Highway.”
Grimshaw A history of rising to challenges by Rebecca Dika
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phone: 780-332-4626 email: firstname.lastname@example.org go online: www.grimshaw.ca
The Alberta Pond Hockey World Championship Qualification Tournament has been held in Grimshaw.
A tier-one $13-million recreational multiplex will make the town of
Grimshaw the envy of other northern Alberta communities. Slated to be completed by December 2010, the complex will be the jewel of this vibrant and progressive community. The multiplex—housing an arena, walking track, field house, and fitness centre—is expected to be completed with no borrowed money. That’s an impressive feat for the town of 2,500, but certainly not a surprising one. Grimshaw has a history of rising to a challenge. After a 2008 fire destroyed the town’s arena, the community set to work. It has accomplished much in a short time, and the future is brighter than ever. “Grimshaw is a progressive community that encourages develop ment while maintaining a small-town feel and quality of life,” says Mayor Brian Allen. “In the last two years, we’ve seen considerable economic growth.” Grimshaw is a major service centre for the region, and is minutes away from the Peace River Airport, offering eight scheduled flights weekly to Edmonton. With a trading area of more than 7,000—and an extended trading area of over 32,000—Grimshaw is ideal for those with an entrepreneurial spirit—especially for those with something to offer in the oil and gas, agricultural, or forestry sector. Located at Mile Zero of the Mackenzie Highway, a Historical Park and Tom Baldwin Memorial Arboretum are focal points in the town. Grimshaw is also part of the Deh Cho travel connection. The Deh Cho Trail links the Mackenzie, Liard, and Alaska highways, cutting a huge loop through northern Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and northern British Columbia. Developed first as a community centre for a richly mixed farming district, the town has evolved as a strategic distribution point for the entire north. It’s an outdoor paradise too. Camping, boating, golfing, hiking, hunting, and fishing are within the community or right on its doorstep. Safe streets and clean air make Grimshaw a great place to raise a family, residents say. The community boasts a library, hospital, outdoor swimming pool, and skating rink, seniors’ drop-in centre, skateboard park, curling rink, and in the near future, the new multiplex facility. Queen Elizabeth Provincial Park and Lac Cardinal are only minutes away.•
A L B E R T A ’ S
Alberta’s sole connection to the north is the historic 90-year-old railroad bridge and the adjacent vehicle bridge, both of which cross the majestic Peace River.
Peace River Beautiful by nature, diverse by culture, vibrant by choice by Rebecca Dika
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phone: 780-624-2574 email: email@example.com go online: www.peaceriver.ca
The Town of Peace River’s Visitor Information Centre at the historic Northern Alberta Railways Station—connecting the north to the south, the past to the present.
Start the descent into the magnificent Peace River valley, and the
town of the same name spreads out before you like a jewel. Peace River is one of the prettiest towns in the north. With all the cachet of resort towns, this diverse community fosters rich cultural, social, educational, and economic opportunities for its 6,300 residents and the catchment area of 20,000. Located along the banks of the Peace River, this is the second largest centre in northwestern Alberta, providing a wide range of services to the surrounding region. “Peace River is an all-encompassing place to live,” says the town’s Communications Coordinator, Stefan Felsing. “One of the biggest reasons people live here is employment and business, but sometimes that only brings half a family.” The other half will surely follow. Mayor Iris Callioux believes: “Peace River has everything. This great place to live is exemplified by our community’s adoption of the ‘Beautiful by Nature. Diverse by Culture. Vibrant by Choice’ vision statement.” The town is the service centre of the north Peace, and offers an array of retail, medical services, and provincial government offices. A hospital with continuing care services, two seniors’ housing facilities, RCMP detachment, indoor pool, and modern ski chalet at Misery Mountain offer amenities for all ages. The municipally owned Peace River Airport has the capability to handle jets as large as a Boeing 737, plus it offers daily scheduled flight service. A regional committee has been struck to look at future development for the Peace River Airport. “The regional airport is very important to the area for business, tourism, and safety purposes including medivac services,” explains Felsing. Resource industries include the oil and gas activity, complemented by a strong agricultural base as well as the nearby Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd. pulp mill. The town is the site of the only Alberta rail crossing over the Peace River, the sole link to the Northwest Territories. Highway 2 passes through Peace River with secondary highway connections to Alaska, British Columbia, southern Alberta, and the Northwest Territories. These transportation systems provide significant connections for present and future business development.•
A L B E R T A ’ S
Horses enjoy a brisk run on a beautiful winter day.
Northern Sunrise County Things look bright for an area with its eye on the future by Rebecca Dika
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phone: 780-624-0013 email: firstname.lastname@example.org go online: www.northernsunrise.net
Northern Sunrise County is bordered by the Peace River.
The future never looked better in Northern Sunrise County.
Known as a vibrant, diverse community, Northern Sunrise has grown from its strong agriculture base to one embracing oil and gas, forestry, and tourism. To say Northern Sunrise County is well situated to make the most of the potential of the Peace River oilsands—one of Canada’s largest deposits—would be an understatement. Geographically speaking, it’s a given, but the County’s Economic Development Strategy will assist in tactically leveraging sector development to the best advantage of the County’s residents and economic pillars. “As resource development continues to grow, the County recognizes the need to consolidate future development through proper planning and design,” says Mat Bergeron, the County’s Economic Development Coordinator. A new Municipal Development Plan (MDP) leads the way as the County works at best practices in land-use planning. “The MDP serves as the foundational document for other land use plans and bylaws, providing a clear policy framework to help guide future development in the County,” says Bob Miles, the County’s Chief Administrative Officer. The leading-edge, fully serviced Sunrise Gateway Business Park was established in 2006 for development and expansion of the County’s administrative centre, fuelling synergistic industrial and commercial investment opportunities. The quality of life in the County is second to none. With close proximity to the town of Peace River and all its amenities, unique communities with distinctive cultures are dotted across the County. St. Isidore, founded in 1953, hosts a spectacular carnival to celebrate the community’s French-Canadian heritage every February. Not far away, a beautiful 1950s Roman Catholic church anchors the hamlet of Marie Reine. Every spring, the Harmon Valley Agriculture Grounds light up with the pro rodeo. The Peace River Agriculture Grounds, located in the county, provides a setting for equestrian events. The multi-cultural base is also home to the communities of Reno, Cadotte Lake, and Little Buffalo. “Ours is a diverse economy with multiple underpinnings,” says County Reeve Agnes Knudsen. “Agriculture, oil and gas, forestry, and tourism are all at play here.” Factor in the plethora of recreational pursuits, and as Reeve Knudsen affirms, “It’s a great place to live and work.”• 19
A L B E R T A ’ S
Great Northern Grains.
Nampa Find out why it’s “the place” to be by Rebecca Dika
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phone: 780-322-3852 email: email@example.com go online: www.nampa.ca
“A Place Close to the Heart.”
A solid industrial base, superior quality of life, and room to grow are
the hallmarks of the village of Nampa. This tiny community of about 370 is just minutes southeast of Peace River on Highway 2 within Northern Sunrise County. The community boasts solid industry leaders, including a Timothy hay processing plant, lumber mill, and grain terminals. Plus the village is close to Shell’s mega oil development. The growth of Nampa has been, and continues to be, closely involved with agriculture. Nampa has long been a farming community driven by the hard work and dedication of the people of the village and its surrounding area. Great Northern Grain Terminals Ltd., a Timothy processing plant and seed cleaning facility, is one of the largest privately owned grain producers in Alberta. The facility handles approximately 130 thousand metric tonnes of grain per year. Across the road, Northern Forage Inc. compresses hay bales that are shipped to Japan. The operation grows, harvests, and bales Timothy hay that is then dried and double-compressed for shipment to Asian markets. The North Peace climate is blessed with ample rainfall, long sunny days, and cool evenings—ideal conditions for growing Timothy hay without irrigation. Boucher Brothers Lumber Mill has provided employment and business opportunities for residents of the village and the surrounding area for years. Development of the Shell in situ oilsands plant, located 50 kilometres northeast of Nampa, has created numerous benefits to the community. Nearby, the scenic Heart River Valley provides a beautiful setting as well as a natural recreation area for its residents and visitors alike. The Heart River Golf Course provides a challenging nine-hole course. As well, nearby Harmon Valley Park has day use and overnight camping facilities. History of the community dates back to 1916, when “Pa” Christian filed the first homestead in the Nampa area. Soon after, the East Dunvegan and B.C. Railway built a line through this part of the Peace region. In 1921, the village formally became Nampa—a First Nations word meaning “the place.”•
A L B E R T A ’ S
Community Futures Peace Country Relying on “ePower” to fuel economic diversification by Rebecca Dika
When a father and son from the North Peace
had an idea to bring to market a massive piece of brush-slashing heavy equipment perfect for application in the oilfield and forestry sectors, they turned to Community Futures Peace Country (CFPC). Turned down by traditional financial institutions, the pair sought assistance from CFPC in 2004 for help in developing a business plan. With that in place, they received the funding from a traditional lender, as well as from CFPC. “They were then able to purchase their first machine and never looked back,” reports CFPC general manager Randy Hodgkinson. “The company now operates four machines and has annual revenues in excess of $2 million.” That kind of assistance is at the core of Community Futures services. They call it “ePower”—a combination of innovation, creativity, and talent. At its heart is the belief that Alberta’s most valuable economic resource is human capital and that entrepreneurship is the key to a strong economy. “Small businesses help create economic diversity and play a key role in ensuring longterm sustainability for Alberta’s rural communities,” Hodgkinson says. “ePower is driven by people who start new business, entrepreneurs with ideas that go beyond the traditional.” Services include business planning and training, and one-on-one start-up or expansion consulting. Pathfinding services offer support in gaining access to other small business supports, information, and access to capital. For more than 20 years, Community Futures organizations have been helping businesses and communities in Alberta.
Twenty-seven CF offices approved more than $28 million in small-business loans throughout the province in 2008.
“If it’s a good idea, we’ll figure out a way to help.”
— Randy Hodgkinson, CFPC General Manager
“There is an increased need to adopt new economic development strategies in rural communities,” Hodgkinson says. These strategies must be focused and flexible in order to capture opportunities presented by a global marketplace. Most likely, these strategies will be based on innovation, diversification, and on the securing of new markets for existing and tobe-developed rural products and services, such as the slashing machine. “If it’s a good idea,” Hodgkinson says, “we’ll figure out a way to help.”•
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phone: 780-624-1161 go online: www.cfpeacecountry.com
A L B E R T A ’ S
Post-secondary education Northern Lakes College plays major role in region by Rebecca Dika
Stewarding education in the Peace Country is not new to Northern Lakes College. In fact, it’s been a part of the community for many years, offering the Practical Nursing program. In June 2005, Northern Lakes College and NAIT signed an agreement to expand and optimize delivery of programs in northwestern Alberta. The agreement provided Northern Lakes College with the ability to offer career programs (such as Social Work and University Studies) at NAIT’s Fairview, Peace River, and High Level campuses. Fast forward another four years and Nor thern L akes College has f ur ther enhanced and defined its role within the region. On July 1, 2009, the Minister of Advanced Education and Technology introduced the Roles and Mandates Framework leading to the responsibility of post-secondary services in High Level, Peace River, and the surrounding region in the hands of Northern Lakes College.
The Northern Lakes College model for program delivery provides a large menu of course offerings made available to small groups of students. In doing so, this unique delivery model allows access to programs that would otherwise be unavailable. These communities host a range of programming, upgrading, business and office administration, information technology analyst, nursing, social work, and university-level transfer courses. Northern Lakes College works in consultation with communities and stakeholders when designing programs in order to determine the best program mix. Offerings are tailored to meet the needs of each community. Northern Lakes College operates in more than 30 northern communities, offering both full- and part-time learning opportunities for students. Flexible programming and customized training allows students to access a wide range of programs from academic upgrading through to career and university studies.•
First Nations and Métis Aboriginal communities add to region’s culture by Rebecca Dika
When history and progress come together,
it’s a beautiful thing. First Nations and Métis settlements across the North Peace Country share a rich, cultural heritage. As the North Peace was settled through the decades, Aboriginal communities have played a critical role in the area’s progress. Consider Woodland Cree Nation at Cadotte Lake in Northern Sunrise County. Woodland Cree entered into a joint-venture initiative with Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd. (Peace River Pulp) in 2004. Peace River Logging was formed out of that joint venture and today employs 26 people 22
and contributes nearly 30 per cent of the pulp mill’s annual hardwood requirement. The company operates two $1-million Peterson Pacific portable chippers and all of the associated logging equipment required to feed the chippers. “It was a priority to enlist the support and contribution of the Woodland Cree when the mill moved to portable chipping in 2003,” explains pulp mill general manager Tim Lanteigne. Peace River Logging operates two complete lines of harvesting/chipping equipment. Both Woodland Cree and DaishowaMa r uben i I nt er nat iona l have made
A L B E R T A ’ S
We’ve got you covered No shortage of emergency services in the region by Rebecca Dika
fire services in a large geographic area with a relatively sparse population requires a bit of creative thinking—and a lot of collaboration. Fortunately, stakeholders in medical, fire, and police services in the North Peace form an effective alliance. Improving northern Albertans’ access to emergency medical services is the model for Alberta Health Services (AHS), reports Randy Pohl, AHS operations manager, NW Alberta. The AHS Northern Communications is located at the Peace River Airport. The dispatch
centre has greatly enhanced utilization of an ambulance fleet across a large area, says Pohl. “The motto is ‘any crew, any unit, any time, anywhere,’” he says. Dispatchers are aware of the location of each ambulance, allowing for more efficient deployment of resources. “There are no geographic limitations,” Pohl says. AHS delivers emergency medical services to the district through facilities at the Peace River Airport. There, a fleet of three ambulances stand by daily with a fourth on call, as well as two at night with another on call. The Town of Peace River, under contract to AHS, offers two ambulances daily (Monday to Friday) and one is available 24 hours a day on the weekends. The communities of Manning and Cadotte Lake also house ambulance stations. Medivac services via a fixed-wing air ambulance are available for the region by a provider contracted by Alberta Health and Wellness based at the Peace River Airport. Critical
patients can be quickly transferred to hospitals in Grande Prairie, Edmonton, and beyond. “Delivery of emergency medical services in the northwest is well-established with valued partnerships,” says Pohl. “AHS has up-trained and coordinated some 350 people across 25 agencies through the medical co-response program.” The Peace River Community Health Care Centre offers 24-hour emergency care as well as a full spectrum of services to regional residents. The hospital has been designated as one of Alberta’s centres for stroke diagnosis and treatment. The Peace River Fire Department offers an integrated fire service and emergency medical service. The fire department maintains a full-time manager of protective services, two EMTs, and 28 paid on-call members. The Peace River Regional RCMP Detachment with outlying detachments in Grimshaw and Manning is responsible for delivering policing services to the residents of the town of Peace River, Northern Sunrise County, Woodland Cree First Nation, and the Lubicon Lake First Nation.•
significant cash and in-kind contributions to the joint venture. Woodland Cree First Nation is located approximately 75 kilometres northeast of Peace River.
home to 39 First Nation communities. In addition to northern Alberta, the treaty’s territories include northwestern Saskatchewan, northeastern British Columbia, and the southwest portion of the Northwest Territories.
Woodland Cree First Nation (Woodland Cree Reserve)
First Nations of the region
On June 21, 1899, the eighth treaty between the Indians of North A merica and the queen of England was signed. Both parties agreed to its terms for reasons of peace and friendship. Treaty 8 was the most comprehensive treaty, encompassing a land mass of approximately 840,000 kilometres, and
Duncan’s First Nations (Berwyn) Lubicon Lake (Little Buffalo) Beaver (High Level) Dene Tha (Chateh) Little Red River Cree Nation (John d’Or Prairie) Tall Cree (Fort Vermilion)
Delivering emergency medical, police, and
Métis settlements, hamlets and communities of the North Peace Country Settlement of Buffalo Lake Community of Cadotte Lake Hamlet of Dixonville Settlement of East Prairie Settlement of Gift Lake Settlement of Kikino Hamlet of North Star Settlement of Paddle Prairie Settlement of Peavine 23
Welcome to Alberta’s North Peace Country
WOOD BUFFALO N AT I O N A L PA R K
NORTH PEACE COUNTRY
A region with an abundance of oil and gas, forestry and agricultural resources, and fascinating cultural and natural attractions
COLD LAKE NORTH COLD LAKE SOUTH
WILLMORE WILDERNESS PA R K
JASPER N AT I O N A L PA R K
BANFF N AT I O N A L PA R K
COUNTY OF NORTHERN LIGHTS
Manning Northern Lakes College
NORTHERN SUNRISE COUNTY Peace River M.D. of PEACE No. 135
Northern Lakes College
Lac Cardinal Regional Economic Development Board
Alberta’s North Peace Country offers vibrant communities, a stable economic environment, and business and recreational opportunities galore
Published on Jun 1, 2010
Alberta’s North Peace Country offers vibrant communities, a stable economic environment, and business and recreational opportunities galore