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Image: Adam Roy. ECow Bay. Prince Rupert, BC

Prince Rupert, BC, was created more than a century ago as part of a grand scheme by a railway man to develop northern British Columbia and connect it via Edmonton to the American hinterland. Unfortunately, WWI intervened, and the place previously envisioned as an international hub, designed with ambition, reverted to more traditional fishing, canning, and logging activities, profiting from the railroad already there. Yet, with the rise of China, cheaper sea cargo, and an oil boom in Alberta, the old crazy plan seemed less crazy, and its halfimplementation in the past has made implementation now seem more realistic.

CASE STORY: GRANDE PRAIRIE Grande Prairie is the seventh-largest city in Alberta, with a population 68,556 as of the 2015 Municipal Census, and is one the larger cities studied as a part of this research. Since the early 2000s, Grande Prairie has undergone a period of excellerated growth, experiencing approximately a 40% population increase from 2007 to 2015. This has earned it a reputation as Canada’s fastest growing municipality. While this “boom” speaks to the broad economic success of municipality of Grande Prairie and the northern Alberta region at-large, drastic increases in activity in such a short period of time present multiple developmental issues to which residents and government must adapt. Grande Prairie is home to multiple major industries, including oil and gas, hospitality and retail services, and significant economic mainstays such as agriculture and forestry. Due to a large surrounding trading area, oil and gas, followed by forestry and retail are the top economic sectors in the area. The geographic context of Grande Prairie contributes to its status as a regional hub of commerce, retail, and to an increasing extent, tourism. While tourism is often referred to as a “soft” industry or as a way of simply surviving rather than thriving, Grande Prairie serves as an important shopping, sports, health, and corporate destination for people across the Northwest Territories and northern BC, as well as for highway traffic going up to Alaska. Because of Grande Prairie’s location, the travel 138

Boom and Bust: a guide

Profile for University of Alberta Extension

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

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