Shell Grosmont Venture (previously SURE Northern Energy) contracted with One Global Economy (OGE), an international community development firm, to help Shell engage in meaningful dialogue with the communities around Shell’s lease. OGE designed and implemented an Asset Mapping and Baseline Data Collection survey in order to:
- Ascertain a baseline of data and attitudes in 2008 before any major Shell operations commence so that any possible future changes can be tracked;
- Develop linkages between the existing skill sets of community members and employment opportunities with industry;
- Inform Shell on community priorities so that it can create a social investment portfolio that reflects the stated desires of community members.
In order to form the questions in the survey, One Economy first conducted 75 in-person interviews in each community. Then One Economy drew up a draft survey and conducted focus groups in each community whereby the community had the chance to request changes to questions and even add their own questions to the survey.
The process of consultation on the survey was quite exhaustive and began in January 2007. OGE and Shell consulted with leadership (MD 17 Reeve and Council, Bigstone Cree Nation Chief and Council, community associations, and interim chiefs) and panels of residents. As a result, every governing body granted approval to allow the survey to be conducted within their respective jurisdictions.
One Economy conducted the survey from October through December 2008 in the communities of Wabasca-Desmarais,ChipewyanLake,TroutLake,PeerlessLake, andCalling Lake,Alberta. The surveys were brought by trained local surveyors to the subjects’ homes, where the subjects had the option to fill out the survey themselves or have the surveyor fill out the survey for them.
In total, 370 individuals were surveyed amongst all communities. Individuals were allowed to decline to participate in the survey or to omit any question they did not wish to answer. The survey was open to anyone aged 15 and up.
Key findings from the survey include:
- Baseline data that varies substantially from provincial and national averages including:
- Very high prevalence of diabetes and asthma;
- High rates of unemployment, particularly short-term unemployment;
- Extreme disparity in income levels;
- A skills database of community members on fields such as construction, plant operations, maintenance, food service and preparation, office operations, health, safety, and environment;
- Insights into future Shell operations including:
- The most effective means for Shell to communicate with local residents;
- Residents opinions on the proper locations in which to house new workers;
- Suggested ways for Shell Grosmont Venture to be a “good neighbour”.