Change Is Hard, By Bud James, Mayor, Town of Killam

Change is hard. Change often requires us to take that step into the unknown; to go somewhere that we don’t know. It requires us to step away from the status quo without knowing what consequences we may face. Change can be uncomfortable, and sometimes a bit scary.

Change is also necessary. The world around us is in constant change, and we can’t ignore these external forces; we must adapt to be able to move forward.

This may all seem obvious to many of us, but I think we are very uneasy with the concept of changing the way the communities of Flagstaff interact with each other and with the outside world.

The fact is that we are all struggling with our long-term sustainability. Alberta’s economy has (until the last 18 months or so) been smoking hot in recent years; however Flagstaff has seen little benefit. Our regional population is declining. Upward pressure on property taxes is not sustainable. Provincial municipal funding from here on will be largely dependent on regional collaboration.

The communities of Flagstaff, through the Flagstaff Intermunicipal Partnership (FIP) committee, have launched a project to determine the best way to move forward together. This project includes a snapshot of where we are today, a look (both nationally and internationally) at what other municipalities are doing, plus some options that may work in our situation.

You will start to see more about this project in The Community Press and on social media. This is a conversation that you need to be paying attention to; that you need to be involved in.

We want to create a ‘made in Flagstaff’ solution that takes advantage of our collective strengths while staying true to each community’s identity. This conversation is for all of us, and everyone’s input is important.

Change is hard. However change, after careful analysis, need not be uncomfortable. Being in charge of our own destiny is a good thing!

I welcome your comments on this topic, as do all my municipal Council colleagues around Flagstaff. Let’s get the conversation started.

“A ship in harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships are for.” – William Shepp