Alberta's NDP leader, Rachel Notley was in the area a few weeks ago. 

The former premier was checking in on progress made at the Inter Pipeline's Heartland Petrochemical Complex (IPL) here in Fort Saskatchewan. 

"It was our government that put the program in place and was part of bringing IPL to Alberta's heartland," Notley told FortSaskOnline.com. "It serves as a strong flagship to the ongoing value add. upgrading and diversification work that we think is so important to Alberta's economy and certainly to the economy of the heartland."

IPL's main purpose is to convert local, low-cost, propane into polypropylene, a high-value, and easy-to-transport plastic. It started regular production back in July. 

Notley says the tour served as a great reminder of all the work that goes into the energy sector. 

"We got a tour of the various different parts of the facility," said Notley. "We ended the tour by the rail cars where we were looking at where the plastic goes in and gets sent off to other suppliers." 

More than the nitty-gritty of the complex's operations, Notley was focused on how this type of project can help not only people in the heartland but the province as a whole. 

"This really is a perfect example of how you can upgrade the natural resources in Alberta and ensure that we are building a resilient jobs economy," said Notley. "Plants like this, we know once that kind of capital investment is made, that's going to be making money and keeping people employed." 

"It's an important investment and it's part of a long-term strategy to keep Albertans working." 

The energy sector is a main driving force in the region, one that Notley recognizes. 

"In the heartland, there has been some really excellent work done by the people who live and work there to create an environment for industrial growth off of important natural resources," said Notley. "That's how you build economies." 

The Heartland IPL project cost around $3.5 billion dollars to construct and has been being built since 2018.