Fort now offers online billing serviceNEWS/Entries/2016/8/24_Fort_now_offers_online_billing_service.html
Viewing deck proposed for 2017NEWS/Entries/2016/8/24_Viewing_deck_proposed_for_2017.html
Tractor pull at Bremner this weekendNEWS/Entries/2016/8/24_Tractor_pull_at_Bremner_this_weekend.html
Crime reduction strategy workingNEWS/Entries/2016/8/24_Crime_reduction_strategy_working.html

Volume 21, Number 33, Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fort baby boom continues

The City of Fort Saskatchewan is officially in love with social media. Twitter is particularly popular. Along with the official main account, there are Twitter accounts for Recreation, Planning and Development, the Fort Precinct, and Shell Theatre. Many staff have their own Twitter accounts as well.

There is good reason to believe this is working well. The official City of Fort Saskatchewan main Twitter account has 3,317 followers. Its main Facebook account has 2,251 likes.

But these numbers are misleading. A page like doesn’t mean someone is actually paying attention. Worse, we know that most of these followers aren’t even real people. In fact, only 38 per cent of traffic on the web is now human.

The reality is that less than 10 per cent of Fort residents even use Twitter at all — which is the actual Canadian number — little known pay attention to any of the City accounts.

I’m not saying no one pays attention. I’m only saying a poster at Co-op would probably be more useful.

Some might say this doesn’t matter, since Social Media is free, unlike posters or newspaper advertising. But Social Media is not free. Social Media requires staff time, and that is expensive. The City of Fort Saskatchewan has three communication positions costing more than $110,000 each.

The budget for Social Media is therefore considerably higher than for all other City advertising.

Even I am not going to suggest anyone abandon Social Media. But it might make sense for a little more balance out there. There have been two major City of Fort Saskatchewan campaigns using only Social Media this summer. How about trying at least one campaign on an alternate media?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Homeowner tied up and robbedNEWS/Entries/2016/8/24_Homeowner_tied_up_and_robbed.html

Too much time wasted on Twitter

The baby boom continues in Fort Saskatchewan, despite lower than usual overall growth in the latest municipal census.

Figures released last week show that the number of residents under the age of five grew to 1,694 this spring, which is a seven per cent increase over the 2015 census.

This compares to an overall population growth of only 2.2 per cent this year. Annual growth has been averaging five per cent in each of the past five years.

The number of elementary school-age children also continued to grow this year, rising by nine per cent to 2,979. That number has seen significant growth over the past five years following decades of little or no growth. The local elementary school population peaked at 2,145 in 1996.

The teen population remains essentially unchanged at 1,249, up by just one. It stood at 1,254 in 2012.

Meanwhile, Fort Saskatchewan’s senior population continues to grow. The number of residents age 65 and older rose by seven per cent last year to 2,476. That number was only 1,986 in 2012.

All of these numbers reflect Canada’s ongoing demographic shift as the Baby Boomers age. The Boomers, born in the post-war years of 1947 through 1966, created the Echo generation that filled local schools in the 1980s and 1990s. The local school population shrank when the Boomers grew too old to have children, and is growing again as the children of the Boomers start their own families.

Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016