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Letter to the Editor: Response to ‘Ponoka mother says end to Ponoka Stampede Parade was ‘horrifying,’ ‘potentially dangerous’

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to an article in the Pipestone Flyer dated Thursday July 21, 2022. Headline: Ponoka mother says end to Ponoka Stampede Parade was “horrifying’ and “potentially dangerous”.

Small town rural Alberta is struggling right now and not just because of the pandemic. Most of us “survived” it thanks to our health care providers, vaccines and our governments, both Federal and Provincial. I am grateful for all of these services that Canada and Alberta provided when we most needed them. Both vaxxed and non vaxxed, as my family has both made these choices.

Many municipalities along with the businesses that support them, were adversely affected in the last few years, following legal legislated guidelines. Frustration and discourse is what became of it by some Albertans and rightfully so, but some to an extent that has negatively affected so many others. Sadly and continuously.

I too was at my wits end but I never once nor did I ever feel or think that I would or should infringe on the majority of my peers; the kids (families) in my community, or the seniors that are now among the majority of our rural and municipal tax payers. I am feeling the same as this woman with her kids and the seniors that were adversely affected by this blatant disregard for the audience at the parade. But it did not stop there.

I attended the Ponoka Stampede (not the parade) one Wednesday evening as a “stay-cation” this year to support “local” businesses and enjoy some entertainment that my parents had attended with us rural country farm kids for 30 plus years. I wanted to carry on a Family Tradition as my parents have passed. But I was deeply disappointed, horrified and shocked.

As I looked for a parking spot at the municipally (tax payers) owned Recreation Centre across from the grounds I found that one entire corner prime parking, which could and should have been reserved for families and or seniors with wheel chairs or disabled/volunteers etc, was entirely utilized by a massive display of very large offensive signs, huge semi trucks with even more “not” family friendly displays. These were coveting the entire front line of the parking lot along the highway. You could Not miss it and that was their point. In the background one could hear, smell and see the child luring sounds of the midway that brought ‘families” out for this event.

I continued to the event but left early due to a variety of reasons. All relating to the atmosphere of what was displayed in the tax payers parking lot that bled into the crowd, the bathrooms and some attendants. I walked out in the rain and was grateful that my parents were not around to see what has become of one of Central Albertas finest family events. They were proud local farmers and 2nd generation Albertans!

The comment made at the end of the article that the town is not involved in the organization of the parade yet allowed this parking lot issue be front and centre just speaks volumes. Place blame elsewhere, take no responsibility for your community and what it represents. I too; nor my family will ever be back to Ponoka to spend our hard earned money as it appears Ponoka doesn’t need it because they have sold out to the “Freedom” Albertans who I guess will sustain the municipality with their taxes that are providing the services that are needed to keep seniors safe and healthy, and bringing families to the community for future growth and development that entitles them to provincial and federal funding. Will keep an ear out to see how this works for Ponoka as it plans to continue to “Keep it Real”.

— Susan C Kokas, County of Wetaskiwin

Free Proud Albertan and 3rd Generation Canadian