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Tuesday March 20th, 2012  
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Quote of the Week
"If you have no training or experience, now is a good time to be very conservative."
- Shannon Werner  
Canadian Avalanche Centre   


Girl About Town - Kimberley MasseyIn the days following the announcement that Crowsnest Pass Municipal Council had deferred the Thunder in the Valley fireworks show for 2012, rarely have I spoken with someone without the conversation almost immediately turning to that issue.
Before we get started, I would like to make it very clear that I am not endorsing the cancellation of the event, nor am I contesting it.
It is a complex issue, the two sides of which each have a great deal of validity, and as I have only been in this community for 17 months and have not been around to observe every step of the decision making process, I don’t feel that my opinion is particularly warranted.
The issue I would like to speak to is the reaction from the community.
Since I came here, and particularly last spring and summer in the months leading up to the event, all I really heard from local residents was how the event was a huge cost to the Municipality (therefore calling for a large percentage of tax dollars) and how so many people who live here choose to vacate the community for the course of the weekend, in order to escape the huge crowds.
So you would think that by the Municipality choosing to defer the event for a year in an attempt to ensure it is handled appropriately and tax dollars are not being misspent, this would placate such criticism.
Obviously there are also a great number of residents – particularly local business owners - who see the value in the event and whose families and friends come here to take part, so I understand their disappointment that the event was cancelled this year.
What irritates me is those people who say this decision was made behind the backs of the public.
I have heard from several people that the public was not made aware of the intention to defer the event and that no public consultation was sought.
As someone who has been reporting on this issue for the past several months, this makes me want to tear my hair out.
When Council released its Strategic Plan last fall, one of the main issues addressed was the need for reorganization and changes to the entire Rum Runner Days event, including Thunder in the Valley.
When this information was released, I heard from several people that it was nothing new and that they’ve been told this for quite some time.
So how can we say that we didn’t know changes were going to be made?
The Municipality began calling for residents and business owners who were interested in volunteering with the Rum Runner Days Organizing Committee in October, advertising in both local papers, on the radio, on the municipal website and through word-of-mouth, in addition to stories which ran in both papers and on the radio.
Only one member of the public came forward to volunteer for the task and the remaining members were recruited by Council.
After the committee was assembled and they started working through the task of addressing the issues at hand, the minutes of those meetings were provided to Council and included in Council meeting minutes on the municipal website, in addition to the meetings being reported on by yours truly.
So this information has been readily available at Council meetings (which are open to the public), on the municipal website, on the radio, and in both newspapers.
At the Rum Runner Days Organizing Committee meeting which was held last Tuesday, March 13th in Council chambers, one of the members of the public who was in attendance stated that the public was not appropriately informed because “not everyone reads the newspaper”.
Saying that you weren’t aware of something because you didn’t make the effort doesn’t let you off the hook.
You can’t win the lottery without buying a ticket, so how do you expect to know what is going on in your community – with factual information and not hearsay – if you don’t make the effort to get informed?
You don’t even have to read the newspaper to do so. As I have stated, the information was available in a multitude of forms, including on the Pass Herald’s website, the municipal website and the radio, for those who can’t be bothered to sit down and read a newspaper.
I would like to stress once again that I am not condoning Council’s decision, nor am I disputing it, and I am by no means referring to the hardworking volunteer firefighters who organize Thunder in the Valley, who have stated they were left out of the decision.
What I can’t excuse is those who don’t bother to learn what’s going on or get involved and have their voice heard, instead waiting until the ball drops and the decision has been made before they step up and do something.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: if you support something and you want to see it continue, you have to get involved – you have to give a damn – you can’t just sit around and wait for someone else to do it for you.
Council meetings, which are open to the public, are held every second Tuesday and for those who can’t attend, the news from these meetings is available in the Pass Herald.

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.” – Mohandas “Mahatma” Ghandi

Love Kimberley

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