Writer feels county residents have stake in City of Wetaskiwin

Safety a concern for county resident coming to town

Dear editor,

I would like to share a point of view with your readers. After a private message initiated by one of the city councilors of Wetaskiwin to myself on July 8, I shared some concerns I had that are the same concerns of many of our citizens, both city and county, they being vast changes in the city administration and firing and re-hiring of city staff and the pay-outs/severance packages of senior members, or possible impending lawsuits that may be coming over all of this.

I mentioned that folks around town and myself are feeling a bit uneasy with the chaos and secrecy of what is going on behind closed doors. Rumors abound and so I wanted to share what I was hearing in private, since this councilor contacted me on a private page. Welcome to 2019 social media. Other issues were discussed such as the crime and gang related items, and as expected the conversation and my concerns got shot down, with the usual response of” I can’t discuss these things with you”. I respect that and then came the last comment.. “As a non-resident this will be my last contact. Contact the county office for further information”.

Here is where I feel that there is such a disparity in “community” in our municipal administration.

I lived and shopped and worked in the city for 15 years. So did and does my family and friends. However, now that I don’t reside within the city, I have no right to comment or have a concern about the city I still work in, shop in, drive in, eat in, etc? I’m confused… All of Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin County members utilize some or most aspects of the City of Wetaskiwin. My neighbors buy their cattle feed from Co-op, Lumber from Home Building Center, propane from Midwest, take our pets to the vets, buy our tires, our beer, our groceries, have coffee and lunch at the local restaurants and stop at the flower shop and doctor office and banks. We use the library, the dance studios, the sports shops, attorneys and paint stores. Get our vehicles serviced and stop to get a car wash or a new phone or electronic and then some ice cream. Take the kids to pool or the cinema or the mall. Those that are “non-residents” of Wetaskiwin are a large percentage of the “users” of these businesses. We have a right to feel safe and voice concerns if what the city administration is doing will affect our business as users of the businesses and services in Wetaskiwin. Without us, the “non-residents”, the city would have less income and we could always head to Camrose, Leduc or Red Deer or Ponoka to get what we need. And now-a-days because of the economy many folks are having things delivered rather than going to town and in turn that affects those little businesses that we stop at on our way home. We as county citizens help this city, not hinder it. So as a “community” we seem to be growing apart rather than together.

My private conversation with a friend and councilor became just another bit of fodder for the city council as it was shared with them all and again I was classified as a “Keyboard Warrior.” Maybe I should get my neighbors, the other “non-residents” to come out to a city council meeting so we can show support for our fellow businesses in town and our families that reside there. We are all a vital part of an equation to a successful “community”. I am part of one, and many of us are seeking alternatives.

The keyboard can be very powerful and maybe some others should come out from behind theirs.

A non-resident of, but working and spending dollars in the City of Wetaskiwin.

Susan C. Kokas, County of Wetaskiwin resident

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