Several board and committee vacancies are just waiting to be filled with enthusiastic residents looking to help shape the community’s future, Town officials say.
“My favourite quote is, ‘Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy’,” said Sylvan Lake Mayor Megan Hanson, adding that elections are every four years but by volunteering, a person essentially votes every day on the kind of community they wish to live in.
“It’s so true with boards and committees because it’s really a hands-on way to direct how we run our municipality,” she said.
“They are the working groups that decide the direction we go month to month. When they get together, they decide what projects we take on – they really get to drive the work that we do as a municipality.
“You have people who have a really specific interest in the topics (of the committee). Sometimes, they also have a specific expertise or skill-set, and they really get to drive the work of it.”
Hanson said that normally, committees are formed in the fall prior to October’s organizational meeting.
But this year, when the call for members went out, numbers of those interested in signing up weren’t as robust as in past years.
“It felt like it was substantially less than what we have seen in the past,” she said.
“Normally, we don’t have vacancies at this time of the year, but right now we have seven listings up on our website for the different committee opportunities,” she said.
One is a new committee focused on tourism development.
“We used to have one called the Waterfront Commercial District Committee, and it did end up being quite tourism-focused, but specifically on the lakefront.
“What we’ve realized is that tourism in Sylvan Lake is bigger than just a couple of blocks off of the water. Tourism really involves our whole community,” she said.
“So this new committee will really work on what our tourism directions and plans look like,” she said, adding there are also openings on the Municipal Library Board, the Municipal Planning Commission, and the Subdivision and Appeal Board.
Hanson also encouraged folks to submit applications for boards and committees they are interested in, even when there aren’t any vacancies, as things can change and members sometimes have to resign for any number of reasons.
“There is an application form right on the website if anyone is interested.”
Hanson also said in some cases, residents may be wary of signing up because they are concerned about a time commitment, or because they may not feel qualified.
But in reality, the time commitment isn’t demanding, and often folks have much more to offer than they may think they do, she noted.
“All of our committees are also better if we have a really diverse group of people sitting on them.”
For more information, check out www.sylvanlake.ca.