Coping with change

By Sandra L. Brown

June 15, 2017 12:00 AM

We can merely hypothesize that Isaac Newton wasn’t the only person around to notice an apple falling from a tree in the 1600s. 
However, as a key figure in the emergence of modern science, he was the only person who delved into why this happened. 
He was credited with finding the Theory of Universal Gravitation; there was a scientific reason as to why the apple fell.
Lloydminster pioneers in the early 1900s eked out a living on the prairie one furrow at a time. 
Family members provided the labour to keep the farm going with the traditional use of horses and oxen until the first tractors appeared.
It was a big decision not only financially, but their ability to repair and drive motorized tractors and farm equipment had to be taken into consideration when this change came about.
What price would you pay for industrial convenience? 
There are numerous sides to every story based upon reasoning and fact.
We all know how the recent oil downturn has affected us and the ongoing changes from its fallout. 
The resulting reserves of unemployed oil folks with their vast experience and passion for this industry grew exponentially. 
Many left their homes vacant, put their property up for sale, found alternative incomes or lived on government resources until this too ran out. 
But did you know historically, Lloydminster had problems due to change during earlier oil boom years?
During 1978, Lloydminster experienced a crude oil boom amidst major announcements of expansion and investments in this growing industry. 
Millions of dollars were being invested locally transforming this agricultural prairie community into an industrial “boom town” overnight.
Transient workers, initially estimated at around 3000 moved into motels, boarded with local citizens, frequented recreational facilities, and sought comfort in churches and businesses of various offerings.
When not strenuously working long hours, they searched for something to do in their leisure time finding that Lloydminster wasn’t exactly set-up for these men temporarily hanging their hats in hotel rooms.
These strangers to our city needed to feel at home in their new surroundings while searching for activities to occupy their free time hoping to stave off loneliness and boredom. 
Observing this increasing economic growth a local businessman stated, “The impersonal side of this city is growing and I think that’s the worst part of the growth.” 
It was only natural that other elements such as crime also thrived.
Incidents in local bars increased substantially as the transient oil and construction workers involved the local boys in raising trouble. 
This created a domino effect increasing the number of criminal cases. The combination of extra money in their pocket, and being far from home base resulted in this occupational hazard of working in the oil industry. 
Money wasn’t a problem or a deterrent due to the high wages received. 
With its sporadic supply, Lloydminster wasn’t a major centre for drug dealers at this time. 
It existed of course, but wasn’t the problem that it currently is. 
Lloydminster’s community may have changed during the boom years, but it also changed during the recent downturn as well.
It was natural for crime to thrive with the economic instability. 
We can’t fix the past no matter how long we look at these closed doors and mourn what was. 
But we can learn from it and focus on new opportunities during this rather slow recovery which has turned so many lives upside down and left others short of hope.
There are many lessons to be learned and costs to consider in addition to benefits, however insignificant they may appear. 
Many of us were forced to discover new opportunities far outweighing the perks of working in the oil patch.
Some of us had to learn how to live without all the “bells and whistles” and focus more on what really is important in our lives and within our families. 
We experienced a stronger sense of community and had to think outside of the clichéd box just as our pioneers did when they took a chance on change and went from animal to mechanical horsepower. 
One day this will be right side up again—remember the apple had to fall down from the tree before someone asked why. 

Living in Lloydminster, Sandra raised her family here and is a proud grandmother of three. Like our early pioneers to the west, she encourages everyone to follow their dreams.

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