The provincial government of Alberta announced that it would help Fort McMurray get back on track economically by prioritizing the awarding of contracts to local firms.
As reported by The Canadian Press
, Fort McMurray suppliers and builders will have the first pick of rebuilding contracts in the community devastated by the long-running wildfire. In particular, Alberta Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous pointed at the sustained weakness of oil prices as a factor driving Fort McMurray down further.
“The wildfire and subsequent evacuations have had a devastating impact on employers in the region,” Bilous said on Thursday (May 26). “We are committed to assisting employers in the Fort McMurray area to get access to the resources they need in their return to the community.”
The Fort McMurray Construction Association has warned that the community’s firms are being passed over for jobs, with president Charles Iggulden saying that frustration is mounting among local workers who have been displaced by the destruction.
“It’s baffling that in a time of great need, and when many people in Fort McMurray are looking for work, that these jobs would be outsourced,” Wildrose MLA (Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo) Tany Yao stated, in connection with the recent influx of workers from outside the region.
The 580,000-hectare wildfire, which burns just around 25 kilometres away from the city, is showing no signs of stopping any time soon, even with the recent addition of professionals from all over Canada and the U.S. to supplement the roughly 2,300 personnel fighting the blaze.