Growth

Continuous Progress

Reminiscing over the last 70 years, we cannot help but marvel at the progress made in this area. In that time--the course of a man's average life span--we have passed from an undeveloped wilderness to a community blessed with all the amenities available in urban centers only a short time before. Progress has been continuous. This has remained a mixed farming community but it has changed from oxen to horsepower to a totally mechanized type. Fewer families occupy the land but each farm has increased in area. Production of beef cattle has become more common in recent years and nearly all the open land to the north is presently leased for pasture.

In 1958 rural electrification came into this area. It brought great changes into the life style of the people. The modern conveniences made possible by this, improved the standard of farm life perhaps as no other development. Television made its entry into the district in 1960. In 1966, telephone services, with underground cable, were provided here. It completely banished the isolation of country life as now we could com­municate with anyone across the continent as easily as our neighbor down the road.

Roads which began as trails in the early days, have now become gravelled district roads passable at almost all times regardless of season. In 1973 pavement from Elk Point to Lindbergh was a major improvement. Jets and other aircraft are a common sight as we see them daily enroute to the Cold Lake Air Base about sixty miles north of us. In the last three years (written in 1974) there have been several new homes constructed in the district, all being modern units comparable to those in cities.

This fall as we see oil tankers coming into our district for their loads of crude oil, we recall some of our oldtimers predicting many years ago that there was oil in those north hills. Throughout the years many oil companies have sent crews into these areas to do some test drilling and although we do not always know the results, it has been revealed that there is an abundance of heavy crude. This year a pilot project by an oil company is being conducted in our district whereby water from the Gamier Lakes, piped and then converted to steam is used to assist in the pumping of this heavy oil. The future of this and the potential is beyond our knowledge at the present time. Gas wells which supply the Canadian Salt Com­pany with gas are also located throughout the area.

It is beyond our ability to forecast what lies in the future. Technology has played a major part in the development of our community and has made it equal to other rural centers. However, there are still some problems facing those who remain on the land---weather, uncertain markets, low farm prices,---just as there were in those early days. These are some of the challenging issues left.