City archives supporters ask council for vote of confidence

Councilor Patricia MacQuarrie says can’t bind hands of future councils

A group of local citizens passionate about the City of Wetaskiwin Archives wanted to send a message to elected officials at the June 25 regular council meeting. But the group of citizens may have been the ones who were given a message.

At the end of the group’s presentation, after the local genealogical society members had presented, city councilor Patricia MacQuarrie told those present, who numbered roughly two dozen plus spokespersons Sharon Aney and Alice Hoyle, that city council has never made any motions or decisions regarding the archives located in the Civic Building (the old city hall) and no changes made to how or if the archives operate.

“No decision has ever been made by council to close the archives,” said MacQuarrie.

But, MacQuarrie pointed out, the current city council can’t tie the hands of future councils; for example, stating the archives will never move or never close. MacQuarrie also referred to a number of rumors circulating in the community about the archives’ future, “Most of which were not factual,” she said.

Hoyle, responding to MacQuarrie’s comments about future councils, said, “That’s not too reassuring.”

Aney began the presentation by describing how genealogical society members and archive volunteers became alarmed when a “for sale” sign was placed on the Civic Building; the archives are located in the bottom level.

She added that some volunteers had been told by city staff there was no plan in place for the archives if the building sold. Aney also noted she read in the Pipestone Flyer a few weeks ago the city went on the record stating the archives are secure regardless of the building’s sale. Aney said there is still some nagging uncertainty about what will happen to the archives if the Civic Building sells.

Aney said this is so because the archives hold hundreds of thousands of documents, such as photographs, newspapers and maps that are old and delicate and require certain care to prevent damage.

She noted digitization of the archive is possible, but it is incredibly time consuming and not cheap to do and that’s more about accessibility, not preservation. Plus, the longevity of digitized data, such as hard drives and cards, isn’t known.

Aney stated hundreds of people contact or visit the archives every year looking for information.

Hoyle continued the presentation by stating she, like many others, is very passionate about the archives because her family has deep roots in the Wetaskiwin region, dating back to the 19th Century. Hoyle stated the archives were founded about 40 years ago because that council and residents recognized the importance of preserving local history not only for locals, but for people around the world who have an interest in this area.

After the topic of digitization came up, MacQuarrie said she agreed with Aney and Hoyle about the archive’s importance, but felt more focus should be put on digitization to increase access to the archive.

MacQuarrie said digitization of the archive’s collection would allow many more people to more easily access the deep history there.

Councilors accepted the genealogical society’s presentation as information.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

Just Posted

‘Meet in the Millet’ is major chamber meeting Sept. 7

Multiple chambers will hear three levels of government updates

Writer says Sandra Kim wrongfully attacked

Letter states Kim’s comments on religion, homosexuality not hate speech

Harley Davidson will sell sport and dirt bikes, they say

Beginning next year, HD will face beginning of the end

Who doesn’t like the Reuben sandwich?

Corned beef recipe sounds delish

Ice cream day at train museum

The Alberta Central Railway Museum offered free ice cream Aug. 5. Photo by Stu Salkeld

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

Farmers ponder impact of alternatives to pesticides being banned

The nicotine-based pesticides scientists have linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths will be phased out of use in Canada over a three year period starting in 2021.

Time to kick maverick Tory MP Maxime Bernier out of caucus, Scheer urged

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is taking issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s oft-repeated message of diversity in Canada, calling it a form of “radical multiculturalism.”

Thousands of police officers expected at regimental funeral in Fredericton

Two civilians were killed in a shooting in Fredericton that also claimed the lives of two police officers.

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said day to recognize painful legacy would boost understanding

Are you Canada’s next Masterchef?

Home cooks looking to follow their cuisine dreams can apply now.

Ponoka RCMP seek arrest warrants in Hammy’s Liquor armed robbery

The armed robbery occurred with a knife on Aug. 11 and one suspect was caught shortly after

Most Read