Monthly Archives: March 2014

Character Assassination

St. Albert was a community where residents took pride in the charm, the friendliness, and neighbourliness it emitted. Then came the changes. More residential properties crowded together in ever-increasing concrete surroundings blatantly dismissing authentic ‘green’ space; leaping tax hikes; increase in bylaws and lack of small community charm as this city continues to compete with the province’s capital. And now proposals of monstrous towering buildings are laid at the residents’ feet.

It is not only Grandin Park residents who will suffer lowering property values and the abominable view towering over their homes, but most St. Albertans would be saying good-bye to anything remotely charming about their small city as they look out of their homes to see Big City endeavours trying to manifest itself into reality. One needs to seriously question why people chose living in St. Albert over Edmonton. Surely it is not because of the city’s exorbitant taxes.

Residents can be assured though that with the forecasted increase of apartment dwellers, the small town feel of this community will effectively be dead. Of course the pro of no longer experiencing the small town feel is that buyers will have an easier time to choose if they would like to live in an “urban village” with higher or with lower taxes. Most dollar conscientious buyers will choose Edmonton.

Speaking of Edmonton and various developers’ attempts at what Amacon is looking to duplicate, it is interesting that many of these developments have become rentals as owners either find they do not like the caged in feeling, or they can not sell their properties at a profit. Is this what part of city council envisions for the future? A transient rental community?

As for believing that this will inject new life for the downtown area – possibly at first. But humans are inherently nomadic and therefore will travel elsewhere once the novelty wears off.

Some will squeal delightfully at the possibility of a LRT coming to this “transit village“. At whose cost though? The taxpayers? It has to be remembered that even with free-spending Alison Redford at the provincial helm, promises for a LRT extension to St. Albert were not made. City and provincial taxpayers have woken to government’s spending. So expecting this type of transit for a “possible” 3,400 people is extremely remote.

Retail and office space lays vacant throughout St. Albert. Other than optimism for this project, it would be interesting to hear why Amacon feels that their vision will not suffer the same fate.

Promoting ICLEI’s urban villages in a smaller community definitely supports the much touted content of the social master plan Councillor Heron championed.   Community spirit can not be successfully fostered when a small city promotes separate identities throughout it.

St. Albert is long overdue for reinstating the MPC so the character of this community is not eroded any further.

 

 

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Education

What a fine example our city politicians have given to the students of tomorrow. Is it pushing or bullying their agenda through that sets them apart from those who seek a viable solution for all concerned? Is responsibly studying the pros and cons of a problem an example of the imprint we want to leave on young, impressionable minds? It seems that with what has happened to Erin Ridge residents, students have been taught that it is okay to ‘bully’ one’s own agenda through regardless of the cost it leaves on others. Bully, grab and run because “I” want.

Throughout this sham, students will have learned that reasoning and logic is futile when confronting the illogical minds of adults who can not lead. That can be evidenced in the silence of three councillors, the illogical words of another and the incoherency of a mayor who does not follow the City’s “vision” and bylaws which state that green spaces are to be protected. And then this portion of the council has the audacity to say they want to institute other policies? For what purpose when they can not follow the policies they have already put in place.  A sad statement about individuals whose education was obviously wasted.

Include how some of these local politicians did their homework as a bad example to students. Not doing their research (Draper) results in poor grades. And how can we expect children to regularly attend government institutions when adults like Draper and Crouse, who are paid generous salaries by the taxpayer, do not attend public meetings.

Oh yes, the list continues. Rudely interrupting people while they speak in front of a group; twitter, shuffle papers, and refuse eye contact with those who make an effort of doing their homework as they present it to the ‘class’. Communication is a two way street. Sadly even Councillor Osborne, who ran his platform on this single item, lost his ability to do so.

Who did these four councillors and mayor listen to? Not the residents who did their homework and coherently presented their facts. Not Henri Lemire, the Francophone district’s superintendent who had previously stated “We know from experience our parents are quite accommodating.  If there’s a new school, they’ll make sure their kids attend regardless of where it is. Obviously we want a site that’s large enough.” [emphasis stabnow]  Not even the traffic study had an effect on these individuals. And not even the coherency of their colleagues MacKay and Hughes made a dent.

But they did listen to the one who did sloppy homework – city administrator, Patrick Draper. The one who gets paid an exorbitant salary to not even take the initiative to go back to the province and ask for a short extension while another site was studied. Excellent examples of sloughing off and still expect to pass the grade.

Rounding off this insult to education was left to Crouse at the third and final reading of amendments saying that his representation went “beyond taxpayers and voters” to include children. Of course that is at the cost of other children.

Is it any wonder that our society is such a mess?