A long-time community volunteer is looking to be elected to Wood Buffalo council.
Funke Banjoko is the fourth person to officially announce their intention to run for one of six Ward One council seats.
Banjoko moved to Fort McMurray back in 2011, using her free time to serve on different committees such as Communities in Bloom and the Immigration Advisory Table.
“I was actually looking to see how to spend my time in a quality way, that was the driving force.”
Over the past 10 years, Banjoko’s frustration grew over the large number of people who only used the region as a temporary home.
She believes many residents don’t consider Fort McMurray a permanent home due to what it lacks.
This includes healthcare as many need to travel away for specific treatments, though the Northern Lights Health Foundation is continuing to try and fund projects to help update the local health centre.
In Banjoko’s opinion, a lack of options for shopping is also driving people away, at least when they want to buy something.
“There’s so much money being made in this city but it’s being spent somewhere else, it’s not even good for Fort McMurray.”
As for fly-in-fly-out workers, Banjoko thinks RMWB needs to shift its focus from removing camps to having more trained residents ready to fill open positions.
Multiple oil companies, including Suncor Energy, have claimed initiatives to try and hire local individuals haven’t seen great turnouts.
“The city needs to do more at making sure that we have the workforce that is needed. When new immigrants come, pick them up, and make them job-ready,” added Banjoko.
If the municipality does this, Banjoko believes the number of camps will start to shrink.
The election is scheduled for October 18, 2021.