During my term in office, I and my council were successful in getting a vision (Pass to the Future) and a plan (Municipal Development Plan) completed, as well as an Organizational Review. We also took part in the creation and formation of a regional economic development initiative called MMERI (Mounties to Mountains Economic Regional Initiative). In addition, as part of the southern Alberta region we created and formed the HWY 3 Association, which in turn saw to the completion by a Calgary Professor of a comprehensive ($50,000) economic report on HWY 3's impact on communities in our region, including our own. In the end, it was all for naught.
After my term in office and since then, the ‘vision’ and ‘plan’ have been sitting on a shelf somewhere at municipal hall, collecting dust. Both MMERI (see post) and the HWY 3 Association might as well be defunct for all they have been doing since then. How was this allowed to happen? Who decided we should die a slow death from economic stagnation, instead of using the tools we had developed to be all we could be... as our neighbours have and are presently doing?
For years now I have seen people come and go in this community. Upon arriving, they soon find out that things run a certain way here and progressive change is frowned upon, as ‘the locals’ like things just the way they are. They wake up to the realization that the only way to get along and to get ahead here is to forget what they think and ‘suck up’ to the powers that be, and conform (like the 100th Monkey Effect). I always laugh at these people. Because they have no guts and therefore no glory to work towards. Wanting to conform so badly and thereby, hopefully, be accepted, they are the first to criticize those who have the courage of their convictions to stand-up and fight for change, as being ‘too negative’, not realizing they are the problem, as their silence and conforming are the very reason things have not been changing for the better, as fast as some of us would like to see it change. Finally, they become disillusioned and disgusted, and move away.
What I am getting at here, is the newly forming Adhoc Committee will serve no useful purpose if it is made up solely of yes men/women, hacks, want-to-be’s, and conformists, whose only interest is in maintaining the status quo, by not making any waves. Photo-ops and editorial comment alone will not turn this community around. We know that because we have seen it time and time again, lots of pomp and circumstance but little in the way of actual product (think Bridgecreek). To make my point here, I remember a dedication a while back where all sorts of dignitaries showed up and vast amounts of money was spent on food and drink and having a good time. The dead miners who this dedication was for, after all the speeches by the high and mighty mucky mucks was over, received a cheap $100.00 plaque fastened to a rock. In other words, it appeared like the dead miners were used as a ‘prop’ in order for the living to have a good time at taxpayers’ expense. We don’t need more pie-in-the-sky promises or pomp and circumstance. What we need is to roll up our sleeves and get to work. With the right kind of people on board, having a common vision and goal.
Someone once said, “... a board of directors is one or two ambitious men - and a lot of ballast. I mean that groups of men are vacuums. Great big empty nothings.” With this in mind, it is imperative a catalyst be found. I see the first order of business and the primary 'goal' of this Adhoc Committee to be to find a ‘catalyst’. Someone who can create interest, energy and motivation for action. A person of integrity with the ability to stand by an idea. This catalyst will make community development come alive. This needs to be the 'goal' of the Adhoc Committee. Everything else springs from this.
Once we have the leadership (catalyst) I’m sure our ‘vision’ and ‘plan’ above, will get dusted off and used. And that MMERI and the HWY 3 Association will be given new life by resuscitation, in order to fulfill their original mandate, as was the intent by all us who worked so hard back then to make all these ‘tools’ available, in order to bring economic prosperity to our community.
The above is what I envision the ‘goal’ of the Adhoc Committee to be.
“Nothing great has ever been achieved without enthusiasm.”