On improving the community…

The Leader set out a few months ago with big plans for a survey on what people would change about Slave Lake if they could.
It was along the lines of an earlier scheme we dreamed up to poll people about their first impressions of Slave Lake. That one got less of a response than we were hoping; this one got even less.
It turns out these things are more work than you thought they would be. You realize if you want to get response to a question that is broad enough to be useful, you’re going to have to either go out knocking on doors or hang out on street corners or in front of busy stores pestering people. Somebody more ambitious might do that, but in our case, the project simply languishes.
However, we did have a handful of responses, on the theme of improvements to Slave Lake.
One said ‘clean up the beach.’ That’s something municipal councillors are also fond of saying, which suggests they hear it from their constituents.
Okay, clean up more of the beach and keep it clean, so as to make a better impression on visitors. It needs to be demonstrated that such a measure would increase tourism visits, but unless you do it, you’ll never find out.
‘Build a ski jump,’ says one guy, who is full of ideas. ‘Build a bobsled run! Build a better skateboard facility. Hold a kite festival! Relocate the railway!’
More and better stores downtown for an enhanced shopping experience is something you hear quite often.
How about closing off the streets downtown and holding a block party? Wait a minute, somebody already did that and people are still talking about how much fun it was.
‘It’s all about creating community,’ is the mantra of one Slave Laker, who likes to give The Leader suggestions on how to characterize the musical shows that Stage North brings to town. Such events – and others – may be about a lot of things, but creating and enhancing a sense of community is certainly one of them. Or at least it is a pleasant side benefit.
Generally speaking, people are more isolated from each other than they once were. This is both good and bad, because the less we see of each other the less we get on each other’s nerves. On the other hand, when you gather for some event and see folks that you don’t normally see, it feels good and you realize you’ve been missing that sort of social interaction.
So… all praise to the hard-working people – paid and unpaid – who see the value and do what needs to be done create and maintain events that bring the community together. We’d be in bad shape without them.

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