That Good Ol’ Community Feeling

Remember that feeling of pride one had about this community?

Remember when residents didn’t have to ‘belong’ to an organization to volunteer and partake in a community activity? And when they did belong to an organization, those organizations were supported and remembered by individuals of the community for their generous contributions.

Remember when local government didn’t feel the need to stroke its own ego and actually left residents alone to organize and work events? Those were the days when taxpayers’ hard earned dollars weren’t considered expendable by local government’s whims. That was also the time when more money was left in the pocket of the taxpayer to support the local economy.

But it’s not only major events that local government has decided to dominate over. In the last few years it has decided to micro-manage the lives of residents and isolate them even further from one another. And taxpayers get to pay.

Remember when residents didn’t have to register to have neighbourhood parties?  They were either invited or just wandered over to a neighbour for an evening get together all without government interference. But now taxpayers get to pay for the “freebies” local government hands out at these registered parties. There we go again. Taxpayers get to pay.

Recycling used to be a neighbourhood event in our area. Every couple of weeks neighbours would bring their recyclables to a designated neighbour’s house to load up a vehicle that would take the contents to the recycling yard.  Of course a bit of visiting ensued helping to cement that ‘neighbourhood feeling’ And every few weeks an alternate neighbour would volunteer to be the one to take the recyclables away. Young children helped out and learned in the process. This activity alone contributed to a closeness that local government’s recycling program can’t even hope to imitate.

Wait.

There’s more.

Residents now get to PAY and look forward to yearly increases to have their recyclables taken away by some nameless face and vehicle. Remember that. Taxpayers get to pay.

Then there is the friendly neighbour who graciously helped others with his ATV to clear away snow during heavy snowfalls. Neighbours didn’t have to wait days for the City to clear those public pathways. They helped each other out contributing to that good ol’ neighbourhood feeling. But wait. The City has declared that this can now only be done with either a snowblower or shovel as residents don’t have the intellectual capacity to operate their ATV without doing damage to infrastructure.

Snowblowers came out in numbers and snowblowing commenced. And then, in the City’s infinite wisdom to spend unnecessary funds, it still sent in their equipment to clear what they deemed inappropriate clearing totally ignoring that their bobcats were uprooting lawns, creating mounds of snow in the middle of pathways, thereby making these pathways inaccessible for residents for a number of days, as well as making the paths so uneven with chunks of snow the bobcat operators left in their wake, that it made it difficult for safe walking. And for this inefficiency residents get to pay.

There’s more.

The creative neighbour, who put time, effort and money into decorating their front yard with large ornaments, sculpting the landscape to enhance those ornaments which all added immensely to the look of the neighbourhood, suddenly sees the City at his doorstep. Why? Because someone who doesn’t even live in that neighbourhood took offense to the creative neighbour’s imagination. Anonymously they called to complain about the ornaments and there went taxpayers’ money to send someone out to tell the creative neighbour to dismantle his front yard design.

Three things are wrong with this scenario. One, that the City deems itself an expert in front yard aesthetics and design. Two, that it instituted an anonymous “tattle-tale” system that residents pay for and which really doesn’t contribute to that community feeling. Three, that the City has stepped into micro-managing how one is allowed to express oneself on one’s OWN PRIVATE property. This is oddly reminiscent of a government one would think would never evolve in Canada. But it is evolving. And once again, taxpayers get to dish out their hard earned dollars to lose their rights on their private property.

Local government has repetitively and systematically destroyed that “good ol’ community feeling” over the last few years and it now feels it necessary to erect these wonderful bright orange and red signs in colourful “botanical” St. Albert emphasizing for neighbours to be “good neighbours”, to “watch out for your neighbours”, to “play safe”, to “this is your neighbourhood”.  Sarcasm abounds in this writer’s mind right about now. Why should local government have to tell its citizens when to get together or when to be a good neighbour or when to play safe or that they are actually living in a neighbourhood? When was local government elected to be taxpayers’ parents? And why should taxpayers have to pay for these hideous signs that not only are a distraction while driving, but are an extreme irritant to the eyes? Common sense says taxpayers should not accept local government’s irritating signs displaying irrelevant messages in the guise of being caring. If local government really cared, they would not waste taxpayers’ money on frivolous signs.

The above are just a small sample of how our local government is methodically destroying a community’s desire to actually be a community. And in destroying that initiative, local government grows exponentially, generously helping themselves to resident’s hard-earned money.

It is a fact, that be it only in one’s neighbourhood or be it for the community itself, more pride and community feeling are accomplished when residents don’t have to jump through local government hoops. Having an entity that has grown too large to be recognizable as a viable participant chokes the life out of that community feeling. And taxpayers pay for that with more than just their wallets.

How sad.

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One thought on “That Good Ol’ Community Feeling

  1. Let’s also not forget the dismantling and moving of the Tourist Centre off St. Albert Trail. Council says we have no budget to contribute, so what do we do?

    Well, council and admin, in all their wisdom decides we should move all the tourist brochures and such to City Hall. But, have no fear, Patrick Draper’s not terribly concerned.

    “…they (attractions) are mainly of interest to residents of St. Albert rather than visitors coming into the city…”. Patrick Draper The St. Albert Gazette on Feb 23/13. Did the Chamber of Commerce try to fudge the numbers? If it’s mainly residents of this city who use the tourist centre – don’t they know how to get to City Hall and aren’t they aware of most our attractions?

    So the costs mount, as we look at:
    A few hundred signs = Purchase + Installation + Regular Maintenance
    Space at City Hall = Not enough for admin – but enough for this
    The City Employees approaching Draper for Tourism Training Classes = Course Costs + Benefits + Salaries + Office Space
    Traffic Concerns = RV’s lumbering through downtown St Albert

    And just how much would it have cost to let the Chamber of Commerce leave everything as is?

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