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Calgary Briefs - May

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Compiled by Shari Narine







First Nations girls part of runway success One of 10 runway shows at the Fashion Has No Borders Fashion & Accessory Expose in mid-March featured Aboriginal designer clothing modeled by First Nations teens. The girls were part of the Stardale Women’s Group Inc. Foundation. “They’re all heights and all weights,” said Helen McPhaden, executive director with Stardale. “It’s important that they know it’s about inner beauty.” The girls were among 200 models, most of whom were not professional, to take part in the day’s events. The girls participated in another runway show in April, showing off the work of two Calgary designers. Heated lunch at Mount Royal Mount Royal University students were treated to some heated discussion at a lunch time panel in late March when George Poitras of the Mikisew Cree First Nations challenged representatives of Suncor Energy, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Pembina Institute. Moderator and journalist Murray Cunningham described the topic as the most important issue facing First Nations communities in Alberta. The panel discussion focused on instances of cancer and the possible connection to the oil sands industry. Much of the debate was informed by a study released by Alberta Health Services in February 2009. The study reported 51 cancers in 47 individuals in the Fort Chipewyan community. Only 39 cases were expected for a community that size. New website launched for oil and gas industry The Petroleum Services Association of Canada, headquartered in Calgary, has launched a new website. The content of the www.oilandgasinfo.ca website reflects the most commonly asked questions about how the industry works. In a news release, Roger Soucy, PSAC president, said, “The timing for our website launch couldn’t be better, for a couple of reasons. First, the Alberta government just released its new competitiveness strategy, which emphasizes the need for people to have factual and balanced information about how important the energy industry is to all of us. Further, PSAC has been working with industry and government partners on programs designed to strengthen the partnership between the oil and gas industry and the communities we operate in. This website is just the first of the public outreach initiatives we will be introducing throughout 2010.” PSAC represents a diverse range of over 250 member companies, employing more than 52,000 people and contracting almost exclusively to oil and gas exploration and production companies. PSAC member companies represent over 80 per cent of the business volume generated in the petroleum services industry. Affordable housing coming on-line Attainable Homes Calgary Corporation is making it possible for Calgarians to own their own homes despite house prices, which have outpaced wages this decade and created a significant gap between what households are earning and what is required to qualify for a mortgage. By pooling land with the private sector, acting quickly to take advantage of economic conditions and creating significant economies of scale in building 1,000 homes, it will be possible to drive down the cost of the homes to ensure they are attainable to these buyers. The equity of the land contributed will serve as part of the down payment and the homebuyer will return this portion upon the future sale of the unit (at market price) through a shared-equity model. AHCC will reinvest its equity share when homes are resold in order to fund continuation and expansion of the program. To be eligible for the program, households must earn between 80 and 120 per cent of area median income, which currently equates to $53,790 and $80,400 and pre-qualify for a mortgage. Check out www.attainablehomescalgary.ca. Attainable Homes Calgary Corporation is a non-profit organization created as a wholly owned subsidiary of the City of Calgary. Compiled by Shari Narine