Last week, I drove by the City of Wetaskiwin’s “old” city hall. Imagine my shock when I saw the big “For Sale” sign in front of the building!
I asked myself “how could this be – the City of Wetaskiwin Archives are located in the building?” Hoping that this was someone’s idea of a prank, I did some further investigating.
Sadly, it appears that the City of Wetaskiwin has put this building up for sale, with no clear plan for what happens to the archives, and all the history stored within. Add to this, the fact that the archives has a special temperature/humidity-controlled room where fragile documents from more than 100 years ago are stored.
What is the city’s plan for keeping these historical documents and the archives facility intact?
Why has a decision such as this been made without consulting the stakeholders?
Did the city officials ever plan to engage the public in this matter?
In addition to the City of Wetaskiwin, County of Wetaskiwin, rural school district, media, historical photos and other records stored in the vaults at the archives, are records entrusted to the archives by community groups, churches, service clubs – all with the understanding that their history would be preserved in a much more reliable way by being housed in the archives.
Anyone who has a historical background connected to the City of Wetaskiwin, County of Wetaskiwin, and other rural areas surrounding us should be concerned about this.
Anyone who cares about the preservation of ancestral records should also be concerned. Even if you weren’t born in this area, can you in good conscience ignore the possibility that a disregard for the historical documents housed in the city archives may lead to their demise?
Ask yourself: if I don’t care about this and if I don’t let the city officials know I care about this, who will stand up for archival preservation?
If you need assistance with contact information for the City of Wetaskiwin mayor and councillors, and the County of Wetaskiwin reeve and councillors, you can get that information by phoning the applicable governing body, or by looking at their websites.
Remember: these elected officials are supposed to be representing you!
I quote from Daniel Webster:
“He who Knoweth Not from Whence he Came, Careth Little Whither he Goeth”.
Do You Care?
Alice Hoyle, Wetaskiwin