A little bit of this, a little bit of that in Hicks on Biz this week – Living longer, bus depots in the middle of nowhere, cuppa coffee with the Oilers, job losses, farmland.

Another minute in the spotlight

Of the 133 former Oilers who gathered Wednesday to bid farewell to Rexall Place, about half the names were recognizable. The other half were here for a cuppa coffee, likely playing a few games before being sent back to the minors.

Most of the guys have woulda, coulda, shoulda stories – untimely injuries, the GM didn’t like them, too many players at the position, never given a chance.

Still, they made it to the Big Show, if even for a game or two, creating a treasured memory.

Friends and relatives all know Joe Schmo was an Oiler for a few games. Now, thanks to this collegial gesture by Oiler management, they all enjoyed another moment of recognition.

 

Farewell oil-patch jobs, hello McJobs

Interesting job statistics from a TD Bank study: The provincial job market in Canada has completely flipped.

From February 2015 to February 2016, Ontario gained 74,000 jobs, Quebec 68,000 and Quebec 16,600. Alberta, Canada’s former economic heavyweight champ, had a net loss of 20,000 jobs.

But another report suggests Canada’s over-all job gains from Jan. 2015 to Jan. 2016, are mostly McJobs.

By sector, growth has come in “arts/entertainment/recreation” (21,600 new jobs) and “accommodation/food services” (31,500). Both sectors are notorious for being at the lower end of the pay scale. The other big growth sector, health care and social assistance, is up 47,400 jobs, but those folks are mostly paid from the public purse.

 

Ninety is the new 60

Fifty-two names were listed in Thursday’s obituary round-up in the Edmonton Sun.

Of those, nine were 90 or older.

Eleven were 85 to 90.

Nine were 80 to 90.

Which makes the odds of an older Edmontonian getting to 90, or more, at about one-in-six.

The likelihood of living to 85 or older would be one-in-three; to 80, one-in-two.

There’s always the fickle finger of fate — death from cancer or genetically linked terminal illness. And God save us from dementia or terrible health in our final years.

But if you are aging gracefully, exercising, eating well, not overweight, don’t smoke, sleep well, have regular medical check-ups and stay positive, your odds of living to 90 or longer, in good health, in contemporary Alberta, should be much better than one-in-six.

By the way, nobody in Thursday’s “Dearly Departed” obituary round-up made it past 100.

 

Bus terminal bust

The Greyhound bus terminal is moving out to no-man’s-land beside the VIA Rail Station south of the Yellowhead on 121 Street, six kilometres from downtown, a 45-to-90 minute ride by public transit from other parts of the city. There’s nothing out there!

Buses are still the prime movers of people (besides vehicles) within Alberta. A downtown bus terminal makes much more sense.

The current Greyhound bus terminal is a dive. But the city would be better served by a safe, central, modern bus terminal used by all bus companies.

 

Easy to say, harder to implement

Edmonton and the Capital Region Board are talking about conserving good regional farmland.

It seems easy enough. Zone high-quality farmland for agricultural use only. Make the zoning iron-clad.

Things should be so simple.

Landowners wanting to get rich from sub-dividing farmland are a ferocious lobby, as are developers who have optioned farmland for future development.

Municipal politicians like preserving farmland, but balk at the added costs of developing less-fertile land in less-favourable places.

Part of the Industrial Heartland northeast of Edmonton encroaches on potato farmland. While some farmers objected, most were satisfied to sell their land at a good profit, then work in high-paying petro-chemical jobs instead of farming.