At this year’s 2016 Lacombe Chamber of Commerce Trade Show, not only will community members be able to shop from local businesses, learn about local charities and volunteer groups and have some family-fun entertainment, but also, citizens are encouraged to join City council members at ‘Coffee with Council’.
Coffee with Council has been going on for almost seven years and is put on twice every year, once in the spring at the annual trade show and again in the fall at the Active Living Fair.
According to Mayor Steve Christie, former Councillor Ian Foster brought the idea to the council table and together, council decided that it was a great idea to reach out and hear more from the community about their issues or acquire feedback.
“It’s great to get feedback from people and we actually take that feedback and run it through council, we deliberate about it, see what budget implications are, see what the logistics are and some of those things have gone forward into budget and the water park was one of them,” said Christie.
The Lacombe Spray Park, when it was first built, did not have accessible green space or the shaded areas that it does currently. And, because of Coffee with Council, community members brought up their feedback regarding the park and council acted upon it.
This year, Christie explained he hopes community members stop by and talk about the current issues Lacombe has been bringing up, including urban hens.
“Urban hens are the topic of the day. We’ve been getting quite a few emails, which is great, input prior to putting something into place is a whole lot better than putting it into place and then starting to get input. It’s happened in the past so we try to be proactive and lay things out there so we can get the proper input to make these decisions that we need to make and with the proper information.”
Not only are hens the hopeful topic of discussion, but the mayor encourages local businesses to stop by the event, as this next year will be sure to affect many of them; specifically local businesses in the downtown area when the downtown capital project comes underway.
“There’s some work that needs to be done, it’s not a ‘probably’ we should do it; it’s a need and it will in essence shut down Highway 12 through downtown and that will affect businesses. Since a lot of them will be (at the trade show), we would love to hear feedback in regards to that project, how we should handle it and how we can continue to draw people to businesses while this construction is going on.”
Christie said although the City is never short of feedback from the same people who care about the City, they are hoping to branch out in regards to new audiences contributing feedback or submitting issues to them. Despite all council members living in the City, Christie explained it’s not as easy for everyone to get out and visit the members, or see them on the streets everyday.
“It’s funny, I think the fair and trade show attracts a few more people, but like anything, you get the same people that come and bring suggestions. I think that we attract a wider variety of people and more people that maybe don’t usually talk to us that show up at the Trade Show, so that’s always a good thing and it’s always a good thing for people to know that council is accessible and available as well.”
Coffee with Council will be hosted at the annual Chamber of Commerce Fair and Trade Show on April 9th from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. where all council members will be present to answer any questions or concerns from the public.