Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of March 9)

It’s time for another edition of our weekly column from the A-Team. Here is some important news for this week.

A lack of pipelines is costing the province an average of $7.9 billion revenue every year in a report released by the University of Calgary. From Mix News:

Report: Province Losing Billions in Revenue Due to Lack of Pipelines

Research Associate at the School of Public Policy Kent Fellows tells Mix News this is resulting in price benchmarks being very much in favor of the U.S.

“We find in periods where these pipelines were not at capacity, where there was still some access room in the line, we had much lower differentials and a lot of that is due to the fact that we have the capacity restraint which limits our ability to get the oil to the market.”

Fellows says before 2013 people buying Alberta crude got a discount between 9 and 13 per cent compared to West Texas Intermediate. Since February 2, 2018, local prices are 47 per cent lower – meaning less revenue.

This is also resulting in the province losing around $6.60 on every barrel exported to the United States. Via

This adds to the importance of the Trans Mountain pipeline for Alberta, which is currently in a standoff with BC over the matter.


In other news, a wildfire recovery session will be held at Shell Place on March 7. From My McMurray:

Wildfire recovery session to be held at Shell Place – MyMcMurray

The Here For You drop-in session will allow residents to speak with organizations that are supporting our region’s recovery.

Residents will be able to speak to representatives from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, The Red Cross, NSUUR, and more.

Organizations range from mental health support, to free legal services, to rebuild services.

Residents who unable to attend and who haven’t completed proof-of-loss statements are encouraged to contact their insurance provider immediately to learn how the upcoming two-year statement of claim deadline will affect them. h/t

These sessions have been occurring every so often since the wildfire.

Lastly, Council has unanimously approved funds for 16 local organizations and homelessness plan, according to Laura Beamish of Fort McMurray Today:

Council approves funds to non-profits and homeless

A total of $300,000 in provincial funds will go towards Family and Community Supports Services (FCSS) across 10 organizations. An additional $4,224,331 from combined provincial and federal funds will go towards the Community Plan on Homelessness (CPH) across an additional 6 organizations.

Representatives from a number of organizations raised their concerns about the process and what was eligible for funding this year, in comparison to what was eligible in the past.

Administration said that although the eligibility handbook had not changed since 2010, the difference was due to the amount of applications they had seen in previous years in comparison to 2018. In past years, administration said they had received a total request of approximately $300,000, whereas this year they received requests totalling $1,085,984. read more at

The CPH funding comes from federal and provincial grants to support homeless initiatives.

That’s all for this weeks’ roundup. Check back on The A-Team blog for more news and updates on Fort McMurray.

Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of March 9) was first seen on The A-Team Real Estate Blog


How to Set a List Price For Your Home

When preparing to list your home, care should be taken when deciding the initial listing price. It’s pretty easy to overestimate the value of your home, and pricing it outside of what buyers expect can lead to disappointment. Here are some things to keep in mind.

First on our list is to make a pricing contingency plan before you’re ready to list your house on the market. A recent post from Reader’s Digest explains the importance of having a backup plan:

Work out a pricing contingency plan before you put your home on the market

Sometimes, sellers have high expectations about their property’s appeal and they want to ask top dollar for it, even if their agent doesn’t believe they’ll get it. Or perhaps another agent they talked to planted a high price tag in their mind.

Whatever the reason, as a listing agent, I’ll agree to try and sell the home at the higher price. But before the “For Sale” sign goes up, I always try to work out a contingency plan with the seller, in case the property doesn’t go for the desired price. By having everything on the table from the get-go, we’ll have a plan B should the first plan fail. This saves time and helps set the appropriate expectations in the seller’s mind, so there are no unpleasant surprises down the road. Via

It would be nice to always get what you initially ask for, but having a backup plan, whether it be to end the sale or reduce the price, saves you from indecisiveness later on.

Next is to consider the condition of the local market. A good REALTOR® will have extensive knowledge of whether the current market favors buyers or sellers (or neither):

Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market?

A CMA often includes a Days on the Market (DOM) value for each comparable house sold. When real estate is booming and prices are rising, houses may sell in a few days. Conversely, when the market slows down, average DOM can run into many months.

Your REALTOR® can tell you whether your area is currently in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. In a seller’s market, you can price a bit beyond what you really expect, just to see what the reaction will be. In a buyer’s market, if you really need to sell promptly, offer an attractive bargain price. h/t

Currently, Fort McMurray seems to be settling into a balanced market, a noticeable improvement from where we were last year.

Price your home against comparables in the area!

Lastly, while it seems pretty obvious, bringing on a REALTOR® early in the process will save you from potential disappointment later on, as they will temper expectations by being realistic:

Importance of an Agent

The earlier you bring a local real estate agent into the fold, the better. Top agents tour properties regularly, and know their market inside and out. They can likely explain the seemingly inexplicable, and offer tips to help make your home more valuable.

A good agent has the inside knowledge on pending homes sales and their finger on the pulse of the market 24/7. But remember to research independently, and never rely solely on the advice of your agent. read more at

A good agent will give you an overview of the market and what you can expect during the selling process. The A-Team handles this part with an in-depth listing presentation.

The post How to Set a List Price For Your Home Read more on:

Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of March 2)

It’s time for another edition of the weekly column from the A-Team. Here is some important news for this week.

Alberta’s GDP is expected to grow by 2.8% in 2018 due to the added jobs last year, according to Jaryn Vecchio of Mix News:

Report: Alberta’s GDP Expected To Increase By 2.8% in 2018

On Wednesday, the Conference Board of Canada released its outlook for the province’s and territories with Alberta expected to see the second highest increase.

They believe the province’s GDP will increase by 2.8 per cent. This is mostly due to improvement in drilling and the number of jobs added in 2017.

British Columbia is expected to see the most growth at 3.1 per cent with Prince Edward Island matching Alberta.

Last year, the province saw the biggest growth in the country at 6.7 per cent. Via

It’s worth noting that the numbers don’t take into account the multiple pipelines awaiting construction, so Alberta is set to continue its growth even if the delay drags on.

In other news, Alberta is investing $1 billion in oilsands bitumen upgrading. The goal is to increase the flow of oil in pipelines. From My McMurray:

Alberta to invest $1B in eight years on bitumen upgrading projects

Premier Rachel Notley says the money will be used for loan guarantees and grants to attract anywhere from two to five partial oil upgrading facilities _ resulting in $5 billion of private investment.

The project will begin in 2019 and last for eight years.

The goal is to have Alberta’s thick bitumen upgraded in the province so that more of it can flow through pipelines, leading to an increase in volume and sales.

It’s expected to free up 30 per cent of pipeline capacity at a time when bottlenecks are causing Alberta crude to sell at a steep discount on the North American market. h/t

The investment should do a lot to get Alberta in a better position, as it will be able to overcome the discount that local oil is selling at.


Lastly, Council unanimously approved Operating and Capital budgets for 2018 last Tuesday:

Council unanimously approves 2018 budget

With an overall budget of $775 million, the municipality’s “zero-based budgeting approach” includes a $94.6 million decrease from the 2017 budget. The OB has a $433 million budget and the CB a $252 million budget.

A decrease of $724,869 from the proposed budget appears in the final one, largely thanks to feedback heard from the three-day budget workshops that took place earlier this month.

Investment in public facilities takes up the biggest chunk of the CB’s budget, at $152 million.

Second is transportation projects at $70 million followed by recreation and culture projects at $30 million.

Around $220 million of the overall CB will be spent on construction. read more at

The 2018 budget places a focus on sustaining current services, with investments in public facilities and transportation taking the biggest shares.

That’s all for this weeks’ roundup. Check back on The A-Team blog for more news and updates on Fort McMurray.


The following blog post Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of March 2) was originally published on