Wood Buffalo
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
Official logo of Wood Buffalo
Location within Alberta
Location within Alberta
CountryCanada
ProvinceAlberta
RegionNorthern Alberta
Planning regionLower Athabasca
Specialized municipalityApril 1, 1995
Name changeAugust 14, 1996
Administrative officeFort McMurray
Government
 • MayorSandy Bowman
 • Governing body
Wood Buffalo Municipal Council
  • Mike Allen
  • Krista Balsom
  • John Bruce Inglis
  • Sheila Lalonde
  • Nicholas Keith McGrath
  • Phillip John Meagher
  • Verna Francine Murphy
  • Jeff Peddle
  • Jane Stroud
  • Claris Voyageur
 • CAOJamie Doyle
Area
 (2021)[3]
 • Land60,843.88 km2 (23,491.95 sq mi)
Population
 (2021)[3]
 • Total72,326
 • Density1.2/km2 (3/sq mi)
 • Municipal census (2021)
75,555[4]
Time zoneUTC−7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
Websitermwb.ca

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (abbreviated RMWB)[5][6] is a specialized municipality in northeast Alberta, Canada. It is the second largest municipality in Alberta by area[7] and is home to oil sand deposits known as the Athabasca oil sands.

History

The Municipality of Wood Buffalo was incorporated as a specialized municipality on April 1, 1995 as a result of the amalgamation of the City of Fort McMurray and Improvement District No. 143.[8] Specialized municipality status was granted to provide "for the unique needs of a municipality including a large urban centre and a large rural territory with a small population."[8] The Municipality of Wood Buffalo subsequently changed its name to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo on August 14, 1996.[8]

June 2013 floods

By June 12, 2013, after many days of heavy rain, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo declared a state of emergency. They organized evacuations from some areas and placed others under boil water advisories as local waterways, such as the Hangingstone River, rose to dangerously elevated levels 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of Fort McMurray, causing the closure of Highway 63.[9]

2016 wildfire

Main article: 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire

From May 3, 2016 on, over 80,000 people were affected by evacuations, by May 3 at 6:49 pm, the entirety of Fort McMurray and surrounding areas were placed under a mandatory evacuation.[10][11] making it Alberta's largest evacuation for a wildfire.[10]

Geography

The Regional Municipality (RM) of Wood Buffalo is in the northeast corner of the province of Alberta.[12] It borders the province of Saskatchewan to the east; the Northwest Territories to the north; Improvement District No. 24 (Wood Buffalo National Park), Mackenzie County, and the Municipal District of Opportunity No. 17 to the west; and Athabasca County and the Municipal District of Bonnyville No. 87 to the south.[12] The Athabasca River meanders northward through the central portion of the RM of Wood Buffalo before emptying into Lake Athabasca.[12] Some of its water bodies include Christina Lake, Gardiner Lakes, Garson Lake, Gipsy Lake, Gordon Lake, Gregoire Lake, McClelland Lake, Namur Lake, Richardson Lake, and Winefred Lake (also partially within Lac La Biche County and the Municipal District of Bonnyville No. 87).[12] Discharging northward from Lake Athabasca is Riviere des Rochers, which at its confluence with the Peace River becomes the Slave River.[12] The Slave River forms much of the RM of Wood Buffalo's boundary with Improvement District No. 24 north of the confluence. Land formations include the Birch Mountains northwest of Fort McKay, Fort Hills north of Fort McKay, and Thickwood Hills west of Fort McMurray.[12] A portion of the Peace-Athabasca Delta is also within the RM of Wood Buffalo.[12]

Communities and localities

The following localities are located within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo:[14]

The following settlements are within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo:[12]

First Nations have the following Indian reserves within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo:[12]

Hydrology

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) is in the lower basin of the Athabasca River watershed and Fort McMurray is the largest community on the banks of the river.[notes 1] Local rivers include the Hangingstone River, Clearwater River and Christina River, a tributary of the Clearwater River.

The Hangingstone River drains an area of 1,070 km2 (413 sq mi), which is dominated by muskeg,[citation needed] and flows into the Clearwater River just upstream of the Athabasca River at Fort McMurray.[16] The river often experiences high flows in the spring during snow melt, during heavy rainfall events and when ice jams occur during spring ice break. The RMWB warns citizens of the potential for sudden flash floods "especially in populated areas adjacent to the Athabasca River, Clearwater River and Christina River." Water levels have been monitored by the Water Survey of Canada since 1970 (WSC station 07CD004). During the spring months there is increased monitoring of the "Clearwater River to the south of the urban service area to provide warning of an ice break" and the "Athabasca River upper basin, local river levels, precipitation and overall weather patterns."[17]

The Clearwater River,[notes 2][18] designated as part of the Canadian Heritage Rivers System, flows 187 km (116 mi) from its headwaters at Lloyd Lake in northwest Saskatchewan into northeast Alberta before joining the Athabasca River at Fort McMurray.[18][19] "The lack of significant oil sands developments means that the Clearwater River can be used as a baseline river system to provide information on the variability and characteristics of natural systems."[19]

Demographics

Federal census
population history
YearPop.±%
199136,771—    
199635,213−4.2%
200141,466+17.8%
200651,496+24.2%
201165,565+27.3%
201671,594+9.2%
202172,326+1.0%
Source: Statistics Canada[20][21][22][23][24][3]

Federal census

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo had a population of 72,326 living in 25,934 of its 30,451 total private dwellings, a change of 1% from its 2016 population of 71,594. With a land area of 60,843.88 km2 (23,491.95 sq mi), it had a population density of 1.2/km2 (3.1/sq mi) in 2021.[3]

In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo had a population of 71,594 living in 25,659 of its 30,713 total private dwellings, a change of 9.2% from its 2011 population of 65,565. With a land area of 61,777.65 km2 (23,852.48 sq mi), it had a population density of 1.2/km2 (3.0/sq mi) in 2016.[24]

Municipal census

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo population breakdown, 2021[4]
Component Permanent
 population 
Shadow
 population 
Combined
 population 
Urban service area (Fort McMurray)    72,917 3,089 76,006
Rural service area 2,638 27,415 30,053
Total RM of Wood Buffalo 75,555 30,053 106,059

The permanent population of the Regional Municipality (RM) of Wood Buffalo according to its 2021 municipal census is 75,555,[4] a change of 0.7% from its 2018 municipal census permanent population of 75,009.[25] In addition, the 2021 municipal census counted a shadow population of 30,504 non-permanent residents for a combined population of 106,059,[4] while the 2018 municipal census counted 36,678 non-permanent residents for a combined population of 111,687.[25]

Ethnicity

Pan-ethnic groups in Wood Buffalo Regional Municipality (2016)[26]
Ethnic origin Population Percent
European 46,010 64.4%
Aboriginal 6,400 9%
Southeast Asian 5,365 7.5%
South Asian 4,980 7%
Black 4,175 5.8%
Middle Eastern 1,940 2.7%
East Asian 1,285 1.8%
Latin American 925 1.3%
Other 400 0.6%
Total population 71,594 100%

Language

Immigration

Wood Buffalo is home to almost 2,000 recent immigrants (arriving between 2001 and 2006) who now make up more than 3% of the population. About 21% of these immigrants came from India, while about 10% came from each of Pakistan and the Philippines, and about 9% came from Venezuela, and about 8% from South Africa, about 6% from China, and about 3% came from Colombia.[29]

Religion

More than 80% of residents identified as Christian at the time of the 2001 census while almost 17% indicated they had no religious affiliation. For specific denominations Statistics Canada counted 15,880 Roman Catholics (37.4%), 4,985 Anglicans (11.7%), 4,225 for the United Church of Canada (9.9%), 1,730 Pentecostals (4.1%), 1,195 Baptists (2.8%), 965 for the Salvation Army (2.3%), 900 Lutherans (2.1%), 690 Muslims (1.6%), 350 Latter-day Saints (0.8%), and 320 Presbyterians (0.8%).[30]

Economy

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is home to vast oil sand deposits, also known as the Athabasca Oil Sands, helping to make the region one of the fastest growing industrial areas in Canada.

Attractions

Wood Buffalo National Park is adjacent to the Regional Municipality (RM) of Wood Buffalo to the northwest.[12] The following provincial protected areas are also within the RM of Wood Buffalo:[12]

Government

The municipality's current mayor is Don Scott, who has served since 2017. Its first mayor upon its creation in 1995 was Guy Boutilier, who had previously been the mayor of Fort McMurray and was subsequently elected as the region's provincial MLA. Doug Faulkner served as mayor from 1997 to 2004, and Melissa Blake from 2004 to 2017.

In the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, the municipality was served by the electoral district of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo until 2010, when a second district, Fort McMurray-Conklin, was created due to population growth. Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo is currently represented by Tany Yao, while Fort McMurray-Conklin is represented by Laila Goodridge. Yao was elected under the Wildrose Party in the 2015 provincial election, however he has since crossed the floor to the United Conservative Party.[31][32] Goodridge was elected under the United Conservative Party on July 12, 2018,[33] she took over from the former Official Opposition leader Brian Jean following his retirement.

As of 2016, the municipality is located in the federal electoral district of Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, which is currently represented in the House of Commons of Canada by David Yurdiga of the Conservative Party of Canada.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The Athabasca River originates in Jasper National Park. It is fed by the Athabasca Glacier within the Columbia Icefield, at an altitude of approximately 1,600 metres (5,200 ft). The river travels 1,231 km (765 mi) before discharging through the Mackenzie River system into the Arctic Ocean through the Northwest Territories. Its course is marked by rapids, impeding navigation southwest of Fort McMurray.
  2. ^ Clearwater river is named because of its "unspoiled, clear-water river in a pristine isolated "wilderness setting of spectacular beauty."

References

  1. ^ "Municipal Profile – Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo". Alberta Municipal Affairs. September 17, 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2010.
  2. ^ "Municipal Officials Search". Alberta Municipal Affairs. May 9, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities)". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d "Municipal Census Report" (PDF). Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. 2021. p. 9. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
  5. ^ "Website Abbreviation". Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  6. ^ "RMWB @RMWoodBuffalo Twitter Profile". Twitter. Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  7. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data". Statistics Canada. January 6, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c "Location and History Profile – Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo" (PDF). Alberta Municipal Affairs. October 15, 2021. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  9. ^ "Fort McMurray floodwaters wash out roads, power. Some residents are moved out, others ready for evacuation order". CBC News. June 12, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Parsons, Paige (May 3, 2016). "Thousands flee from Fort McMurray wildfire in the largest fire evacuation in Alberta's history". Postmedia Network. Edmonton Journal. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  11. ^ "Wildfire destroys Fort McMurray homes, most of city evacuated". CBC News Edmonton. May 3, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 2021 Provincial Base Map: Municipalities (PDF) (Map). Alberta Environment and Parks. July 26, 2021. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Specialized and Rural Municipalities and Their Communities" (PDF). Alberta Municipal Affairs. January 12, 2022. Retrieved January 21, 2022.
  14. ^ "Standard Geographical Classification (SGC) 2006, Economic Regions: 4816037 - Wood Buffalo, geographical codes and localities, 2006". Statistics Canada. March 5, 2010. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  15. ^ a b Geo-Administrative Areas (Hamlet, Locality and Townsite Culture Points) (Geodatabase layer) (Map). AltaLIS. October 26, 2020. Retrieved October 2, 2021.((cite map)): CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  16. ^ Hangingstone River Hydrological Profile (Report). Hydrology of the Athabasca Oil Sands Region. Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program RAMP. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  17. ^ "Floods? Are You Ready?" (PDF). Wood Buffalo. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  18. ^ a b "Clearwater River". Canadian Heritage Rivers System. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  19. ^ a b "Clearwater River Hydrological Profile". Hydrology of the Athabasca Oil Sands Region. Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  20. ^ "Table 10: Population and Dwelling Counts, for Census Divisions, Census Subdivisions (Municipalities) and Designated Places, 1991 and 1996 Censuses – 100% Data". 96 Census. Vol. A National Overview – Population and Dwelling Counts. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 1997. pp. 136–146. ISBN 0-660-59283-5.
  21. ^ "Population and Dwelling Counts, for Canada, Provinces and Territories, and Census Divisions, 2001 and 1996 Censuses - 100% Data (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2013-02-16.
  22. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2013-02-16.
  23. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2011 and 2006 censuses (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  24. ^ a b "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  25. ^ a b "census2018: Municipal Census Report" (PDF). Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  26. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census Wood Buffalo, Specialized municipality [Census subdivision], Alberta and Division No. 16, Census division [Census division], Alberta".
  27. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census Wood Buffalo, Specialized municipality [Census subdivision], Alberta and Division No. 16, Census division [Census division], Alberta". 8 February 2017.
  28. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census Wood Buffalo, Specialized municipality [Census subdivision], Alberta and Division No. 16, Census division [Census division], Alberta". 8 February 2017.
  29. ^ "Wood Buffalo". Immigrant Status and Period of Immigration (8) and Place of Birth (261) for the Immigrants and Non-permanent Residents of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census - 20% Sample Data. Statistics Canada. December 4, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
  30. ^ "Wood Buffalo". Religion (95A), Age Groups (7A) and Sex (3) for Population, for Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 1991 and 2001 Censuses - 20% Sample Data. Statistics Canada. March 1, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-14. Retrieved 2016-08-23.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-14. Retrieved 2016-08-23.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ "Election Results".