Council's good week can be even better
Tuesday, Mar 07, 2017 06:00 am
If town council is in any way a bit woozy or even slightly battered from this winter of public discontent over its handling of public engagement, the community’s elected officials should be grateful they are now coming off a badly needed good news week.
Mayor Brian Spiller held his first Coffee with the Mayor session of the year last week at Boots & Barrels, and it was well attended. Citizens had a chance to put all their cards on the table. The mayor, who was also in a fine and conciliatory mood at council’s regular meeting on Feb. 27, engaged citizens, and that is always a good thing.
Council’s handling of public finances, particularly in this long, dark recessionary time, has never been an issue. The town is debt free and there is almost $13.8 million in cash reserves.
And there was even better news on that front on Feb. 27. There is a surplus from 2016 of more than $460,000, which for now has been thrown in general reserves.
But Coun. Mark Kemball had a better and inspired idea. Why not give more money to the critically important skateboard project? Council has already set aside $50,000 for the project and Kemball would like to see “significantly” more added.
Both Kemball and Spiller noted additional money could also be set aside for the new Sports Field Tournament Building at the ball diamond area.
Of course, this scribbler is not suggesting council should throw caution to the wind by tossing these surplus monies here, there and anywhere. But $460,000 is a lot of cash, and maybe there is room here to give a little to other worthy community projects.
How about the Sinclair house project at the Innisfail and District Historical Village? Members of the village’s historical society are bubbly these days from the sudden infusion of donations to save the home after it was reported in January the project was in serious trouble. However, much more is needed, particularly if the dream is to have it moved and fixed up in presentable condition for Canada Day, the nation’s 150th birthday.
Something like this builds community pride. The scribbler thinks back to June 4, 2015 when scores of volunteers rallied together to put up the new playground at the Innisfail Schools Campus. Hundreds of young students lined up beside the area at around noon and clapped and cheered the volunteers. The sight of volunteer Erin Flewelling, one of the leaders of the project, overcome with emotion was a moment that will be forever etched in this community’s memory.
Another such moment is waiting just around the corner.
Johnnie Bachusky is the editor of the Innisfail Province.