Mayor candidates like the fun thoughts of Amazon invite

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They might have some opposing views in their competing campaigns for the mayor’ s seat in the upcoming Lac La Biche County municipal election, but Omer Moghrabi and Gail Broadbent-Ludwig agree on one thing …

Trying to get the Amazon warehouse built in Lac La Biche County is a fun thought – with some potential.

“Dreaming big, thinking way outside the box – that’ s what we need to do,” said Broadbent Ludwig when asked to comment on a recent humour-based column by Lac La Biche POST Publisher Rob McKinley who urged Amazon, the online mega-industry, to keep Lac La Biche County in mind as it searches out a space for its new, 2-million square foot warehouse.

The search for Amazon’ s next North American establishment has drawn interest across Canada from Edmonton and Calgary to Toronto and Montreal.

“Why not us?” beamed Moghrabi, who is running for his second term in office. “The quality of life would be just what they need.”

The ‘they’ in question, could be as many as 50,000 Amazon employees.

“So what,” said the mayor with a certain amount of good humour about the topic. “We have all this room. Beautiful spaces. They could build anywhere in our county.”

While both candidates fully understand the chances of Amazon executives recognizing a small, rural community are next to zero, both said the general idea behind such a pitch isn’ t that far off base.

“We should be out there attracting as many new faces as we can,” said Broadbent-Ludwig. “We know how good it can be here. We need to promote that every chance we get.”

Moghrabi said the same, but planting his tongue firmly in his cheek as he suggested some upgrades to the region to help seal the deal with Amazon.

“We can land water bombers, air tankers on our airstrip at the Lac La Biche airport. That’ s big. They say they want to be near an international airport. Well I say Lac La Biche County could be the province’ s third international airport.”

Both candidates also agree that the publicity that the newspaper’ s column has generated – the story aired on CBC across Canada as well as several GlobalTV affiliates, plus the Edmonton Journal – has been a great promotion for the area.

“It shows how much we have to offer. It might not make Amazon think about coming here, but it might make some other companies think a little more about us,” said Moghrabi.

So far, no Amazon officials have responded to the coverage.

The column, formatted into the style of an open letter to the online giant was uploaded to the Lac La Biche POST’ s website www.laclabichepost.com last Tuesday. In just two days, the page had been visited more than 3000 times. The link on the POST’ s facebook page had been viewed more than 7000 times.

“It was done in good fun, but if Lac La Biche County can get a bit of extra recognition – and some recognition for all the small communities that have so much to offer – then that is some pretty good promotion we generated,” said McKinley.

Moghrabi and Broadbent-Ludwig will be at both Lac La BIche County candidate forums this week. Hosted by the Lac La Biche POST and the Chamber of Commerce, the forums run Wednesday October 4 and Thursday, October 5. Election Day is Monday, October 16.

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