Hundreds of business and community leaders gathered at Shell Place to discuss the potential economic brand of the region.
The Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corporation held its inaugural Momentum 2019 Conference on Tuesday, to discuss awakening Canada to the importance of Fort McMurray.
The event featured a panel discussion, looking into how the region can best brand itself going forward.
The panel included Oil Sands Community Alliance Executive Director Karim Zariffa, RMWB CAO Annette Antoniak, former WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky and CEO of the WBEDC Kevin Weidlich.
Speaking to reporters, Weidlich feels if there’s a community with a history of perseverance it’s ours.
“There are many examples where people have suggested it’s tough to make a living in Fort McMurray. Going back before the oil sands, before even the fur trade and even longer before that. Yet people have been successful here, resilient and creative.”
Weidlich notes our community has shown a strong presence of Indigenous-owned businesses – something he feels will be very beneficial going forward.
He says it will be their strategy to brand the region in a co-creative community-driven approach.
“What makes this different is we are looking for the community to express itself in an authentic, meaningful way. So, I don’t know the full history of the how and why to past initiatives, but I do understand the angst in the community around what we are undertaking and gaining the community’s confidence.”