No, not election day, though that too will soon be here.
No, we mean the decision Lacombe’s current council will be making on Oct. 15 when it finally passes a resolution about the Solid Waste Roadmap.
Lacombe’s controversial and much debated Solid Waste Roadmap issue will come to a head when council finally votes on the new recommendations made by City administration after a summer-long engagement, education and feedback-gathering campaign.
This whole affair has been going on longer than some might think.
It goes back to November of 2012 when council actually passed a resolution on the original Solid Waste Road Map with changes to come in effect around April 2013.
It wasn’t until then, when the City prepared to implement one of the more controversial aspects of the plan, the replacement of back alley dumpsters with smaller roll-out bins, that the City and its council realized they may not have made the best decision.
It would be fair to say that, regrettably, the City of Lacombe did not do the best job of making the public aware of its initial decision prior to implementing the original program.
In fact, some City officials have admitted as much.
It would also be fair to say that, after realizing its mistake, the City went out of its way to make sure the same thing didn’t happen again, engaging in the aforementioned extensive awareness campaign.
As mentioned before in Lacombe Express editorials relating to the Solid Waste Roadmap, the City did its job and did it well after several representatives of the community (who were also doing their job in the political process) made it clear they didn’t agree with all the points of the plan.
The City came up with a plan to engage the public and received tremendous feedback from several demographics, creating a great cross-section of the community that the City could really use to make recommendations to council.
Not only did the plan work, the people of Lacombe can see it worked by the changes made to several of the original recommendations of the Solid Waste Roadmap. Lacombians now know they can hold the City and council accountable for their decisions and that those same organizations aren’t afraid to admit mistakes.
Matthew Goudy, director of infrastructure for the City of Lacombe, said that the whole process of the Solid Waste Roadmap has certainly been a large learning experience for the City, but overall a positive one.
He said the City has determined a lot of what works and doesn’t work as far as getting the public engaged in the consultation process.
Hopefully, the City will put this knowledge to good use by making the plan a model for public engagement in future plans made by the City and council.
The success of the awareness campaign surrounding the Solid Waste Roadmap has proved that the City can and will truly make the citizens of Lacombe part of its decision-making process.
Goudy said that certainly, aspects of the plan are likely to be used in future instances where the City seeks public input.
Let’s hope he is right. It would certainly save Lacombe a lot of headaches in the future and help both the City and its council maintain the trust of the people they represent and work for.