Fort McKay is getting their very own ‘Area Structure Plan’ which will help the community develop and add different services in the area.
Council unanimously supported the ASP at their bi-weekly meeting which was held in front of over 50 people in the rural community. This was the first time they held a meeting there in roughly 17-years – a session that only saw a couple of people show up for.
The ASP will essentially be a footprint or guideline which will help develop the community through zoning, permitting, and more.
President of the McKay Métis Ron Quintal tells Mix News this is the “formal document” they’ve been waiting for.
“We have a lot of plans going forward, however, we were hampered by the ability to subdivide, we were hampered by the ability of permitting, we needed a formal document to be able to build off of.”
Quintal says the big focus will be bringing in critical services, such as more housing, then focus on offering different services that weren’t available in the community before.
He adds in five-years there will be a different look and feel to the community.
“To date, we get all of our services in Fort McMurray, the ability to get some groceries here locally, the ability to get a haircut locally, the ability to get your medications locally – these are things lacking in the community today.”
Despite a number of residents from Fort McKay and other rural communities speaking in favor of the ASP, one resident wasn’t as thrilled and was worried he could lose their property.
Speaking to mayor and council, Massey Whiteknife said he was never informed about the plan, never given proper consultation, and was given three eviction notices for his property of 25-years for development of an industrial site.
“It’s directly going to affect me,” he added.
Director of Planning and Development Jamie Doyle quickly shut down the concerns stating the ASP would help the community develop and has no jurisdiction to evict anyone. He also mentioned that there were ample amount of public meetings discussing the plan along with door-to-door visits reminding people of the engagement sessions.
After the meeting, Mayor Don Scott added the ASP will create many different opportunities for the people of Fort McKay.
“We want to make sure everyone in this community has an opportunity and that’s what the area structure plan does and we want to make sure youth have opportunities in the future, that’s close to my heart.”
“This sets the groundwork for their future.”
As for what will be the first focus, Quintal says they will look to work on the community pavilion.
As part of the ASP, the hamlet will now officially be spelled as Fort McKay, changing from the previous spelling of Fort MacKay.
“We’ve renamed our community to what it should have been,” added Quintal.
Quintal says they started looking into the name change back in 2012 as a way to end ‘the confusion.”
The hamlet was named after Dr. Williams Morrison MacKay but more recently people started referring to the community as Fort McKay.
After the ASP and new spelling was approved an applause erupted from the crowd.
“It’s a new day for the community,” added Quintal.