Editorial – Too much of a good thing?

by Jeff Burgar

When local politicians get together with counterparts at some of the conventions and seminars they attend, even in these troubled times in Alberta, it sometimes happens there is a complaint from the “haves” of Alberta.

“Haves” are those places that always seem to be growing. There are bustling new subdivisions with new homes in all stages of construction.
Machines are busy moving dirt for yet another bunch of new homes. There are new big box and little box businesses going up. Traffic is zooming here and there. It’s all really quite exciting.

The “Have Nots” are not quite so exciting. A new building is all too often the result of a government project of some kind. The only machines seen in the past 10 years on the edge of a really “Have Not” are either tractors and seeders putting in the crops, or combines taking the crops off.
This is not a big deal. Most residents are happy with their communities, and continue to work hard making them better places.

All the same, it is really quite annoying when one of the “Haves” starts whining about all the problems their community faces.

My goodness! Where, oh where, is the money coming from to build these new roads and water and sewer? We need, oh so much money for paving, another overpass, and two more lanes for our four-lane highway.

And, by gosh, we can’t afford to hire more people but we still need them, and we need another arena, and the water treatment plant isn’t big enough, and we need more equipment in the public works shop, and just, well, we want more money from upper government!

These are quite “normal” comments from communities like Edmonton and Calgary, and so many of the bedroom communities around those cities.

For many of the politicians from many parts of rural Alberta, and similar communities right across Canada, it really becomes a matter of “By gosh, we would just love to have the same problems you have! Really!”

And in the next breath, “If you are so broke, why not raise taxes? Or just make the new developments so expensive you can raise all the money you need to service them?”

These thoughts all come to mind when thinking of big cruise ships stopping at small Arctic villages as ice free water becomes more common. These ships carry between 1,500 and 2,500 passengers. The villages are 1,000 people. The villages are excited to sell trinkets and carvings and homemade goodies. The passengers are excited to see the apparent barren lands, to marvel at the incredible isolation and yes, to be stunned by high prices for even a litre of milk.

Meanwhile, tourist destinations like Venice, some resorts in Thailand, cities like Barcelona in Spain, and more are disgusted with tourists.

“Filthy pigs.” “No respect for local culture.” “Absolute boors and drunks.” “They spend so much it ruins the local economy.”

Ah, if only so many of our rural communities had such problems.

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