I am an annoyed taxpayer. My wife and I with our three young children moved here in 1990. On our first day we saw a stream of parents and children coming from St. Albert Place carrying bags of books. We had come from Kanata, Ont. where our kids were told we could take out six books a family but they had to be returned in excellent condition, and on time, or we would be fined. We went to the St. Albert Public Library to sign up. We were told that the books in this library belonged to us and that we could take out as many as we wished. The library was simply holding them for us and other families to use. I became a St. Albertan that day.
The next thing we noticed was how easy it was to volunteer for things we were interested in becoming involved with. It didn’t matter what language we spoke or whether we had voted for the mayor. It didn’t even matter what our income level was or where we lived.
Our children got a quality education in well-placed schools. We used the parks, the trails and swimming pools. We found gymnastics clubs, dance studios, hockey rinks and ball diamonds, the Arden Theatre and a children’s theatre program. All were of the highest quality and everywhere there were volunteers. My wife and I joined up.
My children have grown up and moved on. I am now a senior citizen. I pay my taxes, enjoy my city and do some volunteering. I also am a proud Rotarian.
So I am really fed up with the negative whining letters which are appearing with boring regularity in the Gazette. Certainly this is a well-organized, tiny group of complainers and prolific writers. The trouble is that they have nothing constructive to offer. Further, they have a distorted view of city council as being the enemy of the people who, in their opinion, clearly should be collectively marched off to the guillotine. They would like nothing better than to shut off the lights, turn off the heat, roll up the sidewalks. Of course, some of them are complaining as they get on the plane to Phoenix for the winter.
So, dear editor, let us get some balance in this debate. We are a city of citizens with a strong volunteer base committed to making St. Albert a great place in which to live and raise our children. We too believe in good stewardship for our tax dollars. We too are members of taxpayers’ associations. We just call ourselves by other names — Parents’ Place, Arts and Heritage Foundation, Michif Institute, seniors’ centre, library board, St. Albert Soccer Association — just to name a very few. The difference is that we spend our time actively committed to preserving the things that make life in St. Albert meaningful for our families. The one-sided, non-constructive write-in campaign that appears so prominently in the Gazette is unhelpful and distorted.
Alan Murdock, St. Albert