Normally I wouldn't do this but a few on-line discussions had me thinking this morning about the "Occupy" movement and its distinct lack of presence here in Fort McMurray. I have no idea why this is so. After all, this community is seen by viewed by some elements as the "dirty oil" capital of Canada, an environmentalist's version of Satan incarnate if you will. What better way to voice your objections to the oil industry than by venturing up Highway 63 on a "holier-than-thou-because-I-am-a-university-educated-urbanite" pilgrimage into the belly of the beast?
Ah, but where to hold said protest? Fort McMurray isn't a huge place by American, or even Canadian, standards but it is fairly spread out geographically. After a great deal of pontification and some consultations with the great tree goddess, it suddenly came to me. Forget downtown (see reason 4 below) or even uppity Timberlea. What better place to pitch a tent and hold a protest than in my little corner of Thickwood?! Need some reasons? Awesome! Thanks for asking. I have plenty.
1. Thickwood overpass - The recently completed Thickwood overpass will get you to your tent right quick. No more stopping at the set of lights at the bottom of the hill. Did I mention it opened ahead of schedule? See! It's like we've been expecting you.
2. Tim Horton's - We only have 2 Timmies and one of them is right here in Thickwood! Better yet, the drive-thru was recently expanded into 2 lanes. No more long lines stretching out of the parking lot and down Thickwood Boulevard. For those who prefer Starbucks instead, look no further than the Safeway on Signal Road right around the corner.
3. Birchwood Trail - For those needing a daily nature fix, the Birchwood Trail system is within easy walking distance and highly recommended. Tree-hugging fetishists could spend a lifetime there.
4. Less traffic congestion - Franklin Avenue downtown can be a traffic nightmare at times, particularly during shift change.
5. Casman Centre - Thickwood is home to the Casman Centre where our AJHL hockey team plays. The Oil Barons are having a fantastic season and tickets are quite reasonable so if you need a break head here. You can even network among visiting fans and spread your message across Alberta. Calgary (home base for many oil companies) has 2 AJHL teams. You can double your audience right there. Incidentally, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons are locally known as the MOB. Think about it - your mob meets the MOB!
6. Easy access to MacDonald Island, Fort McMurray's Island Playground! - Take the 1A from Thickwood to city hall and hop the #9 bus from there.
7. Lots of Parks and Green spaces - Hellen Pacholko Park is just down the road from The Dollar Store for your shopping convenience.
And finally...sick of hearing all those one-percenters berate you to "get a job"......we have plenty of employment opportunities here!