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A company might have been devoted to a version of caring capitalism and have worked on community building, might even have been tied to the local community by family links, by social and emotional connection. But the founding family can be long gone, a series of mergers and acquisitions can have carried off the company headquarters, affinities, and sensibilities far away, and the long-term perspective of the company might not be linked at all to a long-term perspective for the town where it all began. Those changes affect a community’s relationships with the other actors, and the potential role of other actors in questioning and contributing to future strategies. Mapping actors is never isolated from tracing the changing identifications and roles over time, of the stories that diverse individuals and institutions tell about themselves, the community, and other actors. A company can be considered synonymous with the community for a while, then morph into a paternalistic figure, then a distant cousin, and finally become a dangerous parasite.

CASE STORY: DRUMHELLER AND THE LOBBYING DINOSAURS For Drumheller, Alberta, its distinctive badlands landscape and identity as the so-called “Dinosaur Capital of the World”, home to the world-class Royal Tyrrell Museum since 1985, has enabled the town to gain a high level of recognition. According to a municipal official, a former museum employee, this identity boosts local pride. Still, many are reluctant to embrace tourism, calling it a “phantom industry’” where people come, spend their time and money, but do not “exist or contribute” to the same life in town as residents. This belief persists despite the fact that roughly one in three residents are now directly or indirectly employed by the industry. It may be argued that leadership in Drumheller has not adequately communicated the value of tourism, nor translated its value into good planning and positive municipal governance. Curiously, lobbying from town “boosters”, including individuals that were very “pro-paleontology”, started as early as the 1950s. In recent years, however, locals note the inconveniences of tourism. In particular, seasonal fluctuations in population and stress on infrastructure are common grievances. Many reject comparisons with Banff, Alberta or Whistler, BC, fearing the scale of the tourism industry in these places and citing the highly seasonal nature of local tourism and the size of Drumheller as reasons to push back. Yet, as the municipal official we interviewed explains, many fail to grasp the significance of the town’s current context. Other paleontological “hotbeds” do not rival the touristic popularity of

Part III: Boom/Bust:Moving forwards: Path and context mapping

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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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