A village of 3,500 people sits just north of the Manitoba border in the heart of the country’s oilpatch.
That is where the community of East Village has had a long-standing relationship with the oilpatch’s oil industry.
A few miles north of town is a small city called St. John’s.
There are three smaller communities along that border.
But the two communities share a lot in common.
They’re both located on the border between Alberta and the U.S. The communities are named after the oil wells drilled by the oil and gas industry.
They have a population of about 6,000.
East Village, about 20 kilometres northeast of St. Johns, has a population density of about 1,400 people per square kilometre.
And that is exactly what it is today.
“We are very much a Canadian-centric village,” said Doug Wark, a community representative with the Alberta Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
“And our culture is based on our relationship with our oil industry, with the oilsands and with our neighbours.”
That is what the village is all about.
In fact, the people of East Town are so close to the oilfields that it’s even a nickname for the community.
It is called the “Oil and Gas City.”
But as Doug explained, it’s also a “Canadian-centric community.”
It’s also an area that has had some struggles in recent years.
In 2012, oil prices were at $US70 ($86) a barrel.
In 2013, the price plunged to $US50.
The price has since returned to around $US80 a barrel, but not in the same way it was in the early 2000s.
And in 2015, the government of Alberta cut funding for the oil industry by $US6.7 billion.
Doug said that the economic problems that arose from those cuts have only made things worse.
“The fact that they had cut funding in a year, in a recession that started in 2008, is just really difficult for anyone who works in this industry, working in the industry, for those of us who have to make a living here,” he said.
“I mean, it really was a really tough time.”
Doug said the situation is just as bad today.
He said that there are a lot of people in the oil patch who are working overtime, and he doesn’t think that’s a sustainable business model.
“There’s not enough money coming in, there’s not a lot going out to people who need the money, to make sure they’re not left behind,” he explained.
The government of Canada has announced it will increase oil royalties for Alberta oil producers by $2.2 billion this year.
Doug and his wife have lived in East Village for over 25 years.
He’s lived in the town for the past 20.
“My wife and I moved here from St. Andrews, New Brunswick, so we know how difficult it is to live in a town that has this kind of a history,” Doug said.
And he says the town has become one of the few communities in Alberta where the people have managed to keep the spirit of their community alive.
He believes that people in this town have managed it well.
“You know, people in East Town, we know that we’ve got the love of this community.
We know that people have always lived here, and we know we’re a great community,” he added.
“So I think we’ve made a very good decision in choosing this location.”
Doug and other community members have set up a website to share information about the community and their concerns about the oil spill and the impact of the oil price drop.
He is hopeful that his message will have some impact.
“It is not an easy time.
But I think people are ready for it,” he stated.
“If you don’t feel like it’s safe for you to be in East St. Thomas, you are in a really good place to be.
I mean, if you’re out there in St. Lawrence or the Fort McMurray, you know that there’s a lot more work to do.
And it’s a really hard place to live.”
The following day, Doug and some of his neighbours gathered to watch a local documentary about the spill.
The documentary showed a small town surrounded by oil fields, with a lot to worry about.
It was a little dark in the night, so Doug decided to go for a walk.
It was a dark, stormy night, but the wind was gentle.
As he walked, Doug noticed a truck in front of him.
“That’s a tanker.
They’ve just come in,” he commented to the camera.
“I’m thinking ‘Oh, that’s kind of cute.
This is where I’m from,'” Doug replied.
The truck drove away, but Doug could still feel the heat on his back.
When the truck stopped, Doug was shocked to see a woman sitting on the front porch of her home. She had