Lacombe is a model city, says Alberta Senator Doug Black.
The elected senator visited Lacombe virtually last week as part of his tour across the province. During his “visit,” Senator Black met with community leaders including Mayor Grant Creasey, the superintendent of Wolf Creek Public Schools and a number of other organizations in the social sphere.
While meeting and discussing the concerns the city has, Black came to understand how diverse the community and its economy is.
“The problems facing Lacombe are a little different from those facing Slave Lake. Many places in Alberta have been hit hard by the oil industry’s downturn… Lacombe hasn’t been hit as hard as most because of it’s diversified economy.
“Lacombe is really just an amazing city and a model of what other cities in Alberta should strive to be,” Black said.
Black says it is important for Alberta to “broaden it base” and after visiting Lacombe, believes the city should be the one looked to for the future of the province.
That isn’t to say there aren’t issues the city is facing. Black says many of the concerns brought forward by community leaders are not new issues.
Mental health and the ability to effectively help, is a primary concern not only in Lacombe but all of Alberta.
“I have heard from so many about the lack of supports for mental health… During the pandemic we have seen a rise in the need for food banks and increases in domestic violence cases. These are very real problems that need to be addressed,” said Black.
Other concerns presented during the Senator’s virtual visit to the city included inadequate rural broadband, demand for the COVID-19 vaccine and economic recovery coming out of the pandemic.
“There is a lot of anxiety right now, but a lot of resilience too.”
Senator Black has been virtually visiting communities in Alberta since November. His visit to Lacombe last week is part of the “second leg” of his tour.
He said the virtual tour was for two reasons: one to learn more about the concerns communities in Alberta have and search for solutions or ways he can help; the second reason was to deepen his knowledge of the province and its people.