Clegg’s Corner – Beautification nearly faced extinction

High Prairie and area residents are days away from celebrating another Christmas Light-Up.

Together with the Town of High Prairie, the High Prairie Community Beautification Association leads the effort to hold the winter celebration. It is one many citizens look forward to each year.

For years, the late Grace Burgar and Lynn Herben headed the efforts. They spent many hours in the old water treatment plant, sorting through hundreds and hundreds of strings of lights. Largely due to this effort, they were honored by having their names inducted on the High Prairie Citizen’s Monument in 2003.

What many people do not know – and should know – is that Beautification almost folded a few years ago. On March 31, 2009, a meeting was held. Town of High Prairie CAO Larry Baran was elected president and a motion made to dissolve the organization.

With the blessing of a town councillor who attended!

In fact, plans were already made to donate the money in the bank account to a community organization. Interest was low, in fact almost zero. Baran made no secret after being elected his only mandate was to dissolve the organization unless someone stepped forward.

Someone did step forward. South Peace News owners, staff and a few friends stepped in.

On June 17, 2009, the association was revived in town council chambers. South Peace News advertising manager Alicia Boisson was elected president.

Other South Peace News staff and family members were involved to keep the organization operating, including myself. Mary Burgar was treasurer, Cori Burgar was secretary. Mike Poulter was vice-chair. Jeff Burgar and Tony Gomes have helped with the public address system each year at Light-Up. Linda Cox was a director.

Friends of South Peace News staff members were also “recruited” to revive the group. The rest, as they say, is history.

The association has been very lucky the last few years to add new members. Current chair Verna Ogg, James Ogg, Jennifer Anderson, Trish Long, and Noelle Scheck. The association is lucky to have them. Forgive me for the ones I did not mention.

The association has also been blessed with long-time support from the High Prairie Air Cadets, Royal Purple, Legion, youth and church groups.

And, of course, the High Prairie Fire Department. They generously open their doors each year for Santa to visit the children. People should appreciate the inconvenience the department is put through to provide this service. Finding a place for fire trucks in -30C is not fun and, frankly, a pain in the butt. Thank the firemen this Friday for their efforts.

At this year’s Light-Up, Beautification will be selling the Community Christmas Card greetings. A new fundraiser is the calendars. Please see a story on this page. Please support these initiatives to keep funding Light-Up.

And see you at the show Friday, Nov. 24!

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