If it’s important enough, let’s just change the paradigm

Community is a wonderful thing, especially — as we saw recently in Pierview, when it pulls together for the common good.

Dear Editor,

Community is a wonderful thing, especially — as we saw recently in Pierview, when it pulls together for the common good. The unfortunate side of the coin (not to be negative) is that we don’t all seem to be on the same page. That’s not the contradiction it sounds like. Please read on …

To be sure, the process of decision-making itself seems skewed: outside for-profit developers basically get to decide for us what our community will look like and therefore how we will live while the residents are mostly muzzled by comparison.

In my recent unplanned and not-so-willing introduction into the halls of local politics, I felt a distinct separation between “us”, the general voting populace, and those whom we asked to look after our — and their — community interests. Instead of all of us as Lakers being on the same side in building an outstanding, different community using the existing, natural gifts we have as a backdrop to development rather than erasing it all and repeatedly wanting to start with a fresh page, I saw the usual third party, purely for-profit developer wagging the dog, telling us what we needed (for their sole benefit) and having it virtually swallowed hook, line and sinker “because we’re not developers” ergo they must know better. Well in as much as we may not know all the legal ins and outs, or even the back-stage issues related to the land deal itself, we can have vision that is above the run-of-the-mill that developers are allowed to build everywhere else.

So once again, the citizens of Sylvan Lake held court on keeping our beautiful natural resources but the sad part is that if history is correct, we continue having to do this so obviously the message is not being taken to heart. Sorry but I’ve got to ask the question: Do these things only matter if someone makes a noise?

In summary folks, if it’s important enough to keep responding positively to taxpayer requests to keeps mature tree stands and maintain the ‘country’ feel of Sylvan Lake as we grow, let’s just simplify it and change the paradigm.

We’re all grateful for the recent win in keeping the mature tree stand on the south boundary of Pierview for all to enjoy, even if the process is currently lopsided, and not in the residents’ favour in any way. Who knows, maybe even the process can change — it is just a process — so that we, as residents on both sides of the table, can at some point soon have an equal voice or better yet, just trust the template already in our bylaws is being adhered to and improved upon.

It IS our community, we all own it, let’s keep it that way. Who knows whose backyard or piece of shoreline the next issue will be in. Let’s all remember we’re in charge, not the developers who come, reap and go home. Yes, we do need their expertise but it should be to fit our template for the future before pencil goes to paper not just their maximum number of lot frontage feet per acre.

But the big bonus for me was that in this whole adventure I got to know my community better, met some wonderful new people, learned some names to put to faces (be warned, I will probably ask you again what your name is), made some new friends and even learned something about how our town is run.

True community is a wonderful and rare thing these days. Let’s build a truly gorgeous, unified one.

Thanks everyone. You’re all amazing.

Heather Donald,

Sylvan Lake