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    Categories: Commentary

Seven still magnificent but we should aspire for higher

St. Albert’s weather this summer has been great thus far, with stretches of several hot sunny days followed by the welcomed reprieve of a cold front bringing occasional thunderstorms and a couple of cooler days. There have been more opportunities to get outside and enjoy all that St. Albert has to offer.

Whether heading to the farmers’ market on Saturdays, cooling off in one of our recreational pools, biking or walking along one of our many trails, or hitting the local links, both the small-town feel and natural appeal of our city is enticing. It is not hard to fathom why people want to move here.

Named by MoneySense Magazine as the seventh best place to live in Canada, our small city of just over 72,000 citizens is a growing concern. A drive about the city reveals the considerable expansion that is happening particularly in the north end. With this growth however comes the possibility of losing our famous small-town feel. That we have dropped a few notches on the list of top places to live, while nothing to be upset about, is perhaps reflective that we are dealing with our growing pains.

A resident of The Botanical Arts City since 2002, I have come to fully embrace our city’s mantra that we are all about “cultivating a strong sense of community and a high quality of life.”

I fondly recall how friendly and welcoming neighbours and folks were when my family first moved here. It seemed that everyone waved and stopped to say hello. Now, not so much. This is not to say that we are not friendly and welcoming but in some ways, maybe because of the hustle and bustle of commercial growth and new developments, we are perhaps keeping to ourselves a little more than usual? This is readily remedied by reaching out with a smile or hello when out and about.

One way however that we are not keeping to ourselves, at least in my estimation, is the noticeable increase of litter on streets and properties, especially those near commercial areas. One of the scrolling messages on our city’s website, stalbert.ca, reminds us that St. Albert is “a sustainable community committed to a green and healthy lifestyle.” To keep our city cleaner, we can all heed this message and do our part to keep our city looking great.

Sure, one could argue that the city could always provide more garbage receptacles along streets and walking paths but the fact of the matter is, they already have placed a sufficient number in key areas. People just need to make the extra effort to use them.

So the next time you are out for a stroll or running an errand, take time to say a neighbourly hello and also exercise some collective responsibility to keep our streets and properties clean. With these two simple actions we may just rise a notch or two in next year’s list of best places to live. We are blessed to live in such a great community. Nonetheless, let’s all aspire for higher!

Tim Cusack is an educator, writer, and member of the naval reserve.

St. Albert Gazette: The St. Albert Gazette has been the source for news and community information in St. Albert and area since 1961. Today the twice-weekly full-colour tabloid delivers award-winning journalism in print, online and on mobile.