Building communities just one block at a time

One of my more closely-held beliefs is that as friendships between people grow, so do safe and caring neighbourhoods.

STEVE CHRISTIE

One of my more closely-held beliefs is that as friendships between people grow, so do safe and caring neighbourhoods. Neighbours tend look out for each other, especially when they know each other. Active participation of neighbourhood residents is a crucial element in community safety.

It is becoming less common to see neighbours chatting on the front lawns while keeping a watchful eye on children and community activities.

Quiet, detached, aloof communities are communities ready for crimes such as theft and vandalism. I believe that we need to get to know our neighbours and learn where they live, which dog or child is theirs and establish friendships to increase that sense of belonging to a community.

Since June is Block Party Month, I encourage residents to organize and host block parties in their neighbourhoods this summer. Block parties are a great way to get to know your neighbours and build community spirit. Getting together with your neighbours for a warm evening of fun and food is not only enjoyable; it also engenders a renewed attachment amongst the people in your area.

I believe that the benefits of organizing a neighbourhood block party are manifold. It brings people together to have fun and meet their neighbours, learn a little about each other and the history of the community, share skills, learn about area resources and plan community projects. It can increase our sense of belonging to a community, and helps us encourage one another to look after the neighbourhood in order to improve safety and prevent crime.

The City of Lacombe’s Community Services has a Block Party Planning Kit to help residents host block parties. Also this year we have an activity kit that your neighbourhood can borrow for your block party. The kit contains games that you can play, including golf toss or bocce ball. Please call 403-782-1267 for more information.

The City of Lacombe is also a proud supporter of some other summer celebrations that revitalize our community and bring us together to celebrate. I personally am excited to see the list of activities grow each year, as it indicates that Lacombe is becoming a vibrant cultural hub in the Central Alberta region.

We are celebrating the re-opening of the renovated and upgraded Lacombe Spray Park at the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre on June 13th from 1 to 3 pm; everyone is invited to join us for free cake, music, and lots of water-soaked fun!

As a proud Canadian, I always look forward to the annual Canada Day festivities, especially the fireworks display. With the success last year of the inaugural flag-raising ceremony, we are planning to turn it into a perennial event with the assistance and participation of the Lacombe Legion. There will be lots of family-friendly activities taking place on our nation’s birthday. For more information go to www.lacombetourism.com.

Our flagship summer event, Lacombe Days, with its signature parade, goes from July 17-20th, and this year promises to be a great success! Currently, the festival organizers are looking for sponsors and volunteers to help plan the various events that make up the weekend, so if you want to be part of the action, contact them at info@lacombedays.ca.

Speaking of parades, we will once again be visiting our neighbouring municipalities to take part in their parades, promoting the City of Lacombe brand with our multiple award-winning parade float. This summer we will visit Clive Funfest, Rimbey Rodeo, Steel Wheel Stampede, and Westerner Days in Red Deer. If you happen to be at any of these events, keep an eye out for us.

Lacombe is fast-becoming a cultural hub, an incubator of the arts in Central Alberta, and a celebration destination. We are gaining this enviable reputation because of a commitment by our citizens to roll up their sleeves, help organize, volunteer for and support our cultural events and festivals.

We also are a caring community where people look out for each another, as evidenced by the church groups and service clubs in the City, and this helps to make us a community of choice, a beautiful city in every sense of the word.

Steve Christie is the mayor of Lacombe.