A study of human adjustment in Fort McMurray - Volume I: Field study and results

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  • Industrial growth associated with exploitation of the Athabasca Oil Sands has altered the region's economic and demographic structure and the local conditions of life. Between 1961 and 1979, there was an abrupt transition from the economy reliant on traditional activities such as hunting, trapping, fishing, and transportation to an industrial economy based on the oil sands extraction. The population of the region has grown from approximately 2600 in 1961 to over 27 000 in 1979. The most spectacular growth has occurred in Fort McMurray, which from a community of 1200 in 1961 has grown into a regional urban centre of 26 000 inhabitants by 1979. Further growth in the region is expected to take place as a result of the proposed Alsands project, which probably will involve the building of a new to\'m 90 km north of Fort McMurray. In view of the need to plan for the in-migration of people associated with future oil sands developments, it v1as important that the Human System of AOSERP obtain as much information as possible about social impacts of commercial development of the oil sands to date. Consequently, this research project was designed to identify and analyze the various specific dimensions and aspects of the social and personal adjustment of people to the current and past conditions of life in the Fort McMurray area.

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