Editorial – “Same crap. Different pile.”

Jeff Burgar

That is as good a description as any of the High Prairie and District Regional Recreation Board.

At least, that’s one conclusion one could draw from the normal give and take of one of the region’s biggest government money pits. The biggest, of course, is public works which handles roads, water and sewer, gravel and potholes.

Recent chat about High Prairie’s walking trails by High Prairie town council offers a glimpse of what might be wrong. Apparently, the trails do not fall under control of the recreation board. The chat seemed to have more misinformation instead of facts. One has to be scratching their heads.

As in, exactly what does it take to be in charge of recreation in High Prairie? As in, if you don’t know what you are talking about, does it not make sense to get real facts before one opens one’s mouth? Or is this just the way things are done in High Prairie, Alta. when it comes to recreation?

It only took 15 years for the rec board to acknowledge three different consultants hired by the Town of High Prairie all agreed the rec board was not a very good organization. The end result, finally, was dissolving the rec board and rebuilding under the Town of High Prairie council authority.

But, ongoing citizen complaints about the Aquatic Centre just won’t go away. Dissolving or restructuring of the rec board was expected to improve things. Basically in practice, today, there are the same faces at the top. Just a different room they meet in. Does that sound like a sure-fire formula for success?

The idea that any former rec board members can provide “continuity and experience” is laughable in some quarters. These are the people who can’t or won’t deal with complaints today!

The swimming pool deserves attention. Accusations every time a decent pool manager is in place, they are run off, deserve investigation. An outside consultant will take months upon months. If that is what is needed, High Prairie council can decide.

In the meantime, the entire council should immediately exercise real authority and accountability and be “the rec board,” as Big Lakes County entire council is the “public works committee.”

Walking trails? The issue of roots pushing through pavement continues. Maybe someday, somebody will come up with a plan. It’s only been about 10-15 years. Snow removal in winter? Somebody on the rec board said the trails will take three times the money spent on cleaning sidewalks in High Prairie. If that is so, Charlie Milner at the Elks grounds deserves maybe one or two hundred thousand dollars. He drives a little tractor up on the Elks portion of the trails and moves snow around compliments of himself and the Elks. It isn’t perfect, but for those who use the trails in winter, they are very thankful.

Milner doesn’t do it all the time. Plus, he doesn’t do the entire trails. People can’t walk through Jaycee Park to cleared trails. They have to walk down the highway or drive out to the rodeo grounds.

Without serious change at the rec board, using a non-original quote, old and new issues will continue festering like well-picked sores.


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