If you read too much into the editorial pages, you’d get the impression it was all doom and gloom out there. Like most of my neighbours, I’ve come to take much of this complaining with a grain of salt, as it often doesn’t reflect the real happenings in Rocky View County (RVC), and certainly doesn’t represent what most of us are talking about.
How delighted I was recently, then, to see some real positivity and optimism first-hand from RVC CAO, Al Hoggan.
Hoggan was the guest speaker at a Rocky View 2020 meeting, presenting on the County’s rationale for pursuing specialized municipality status. It was an interesting discussion, as we in RVC have much to consider, situated next to such a large neighbour as Calgary.
There were many excellent questions from residents. How do we maintain our autonomy to make decisions on how and where we grow? How do we enhance our quality of life and provide new amenities for our families, while maintaining the unique feel that makes us so special?
Hoggan did his best to answer these questions thoughtfully while providing information on the pros and cons of becoming a specialized municipality. Proponents point out RVC is very unique, with its agricultural operations, growing hamlets, industrial and commercial corridors and country-residential population.
I am a 30-year resident and, like most, am quite aware we are no longer only a “rural” municipality, and haven’t been for quite some time.
While the discussion over municipal status was informative and engaging, what I was most pleased by was the tone and direction of discussion. Here we were, about 50 landowners, business leaders and residents of RVC, gathered in the middle of the afternoon on the Tuesday after a long weekend, having a positive discussion on how we might go forward in a thoughtful manner.
Hoggan was given a standing ovation from those in attendance – what a positive change this is, as compared to bureaucratic leaders in the past who seemingly preferred to remain out of sight. I don’t think the reception was so much for the information, though those in attendance did fully support the rationale there, but more so for the fact the County CAO took the time to come and meet with people who are striving to make a positive difference in RVC.
It was evident to all in attendance that Hoggan’s experience in the private sector before entering the world of government will serve residents well as we chart a course to preserving our autonomy and lifestyle while rightfully growing and expanding in areas where growth makes sense.
It’s not all doom and gloom out there, and maybe it’s time more of us stood up and said so.