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LETTER: This resident isn't ready to trust City surveys, or their outcomes

'When a council ignores and disrespects popular votes while stifling the will of the people, it takes much more than a catalogue of community surveys to heal the hurt.'
letter-sta

Re: "City survey invites public input on proposed solar farm," The Gazette, May 11.

Well, our City’s administration put out yet another "survey," with this new exercise aimed more specifically at gathering citizens’ views on the latest incoming Fab Four pet project which we now know as the solar farm.

And the replies to the City’s online invitation to participate, as seen through volumes of social media contributions, have been stark, blunt, and yet, unsurprisingly guarded.

It seems even the minority of taxpayers who voted the big spenders back into office are also skeptical about St. Albert’s infamous community surveys and equally reluctant to trust the outcomes.

The mayor and council can’t be at all shocked by the snubbed reaction to what many see as pervasive communication tokenism. What does the City and its establishment expect?  

We’ve been burnt too many times before.

Very much anticipated and clearly understood were the plentiful replies from St. Albertans expressing their frustration, lack of trust, and outright distaste, adding that the mayor and council have not respected previous plebiscites and surveys, instead marching on to their own agenda, and so, why should anyone waste their time and energy on this one?

How will this latest, confusing, ambiguous, measurement tool be any different?

When a council ignores and disrespects popular votes while stifling the will of the people, it takes much more than a catalogue of community surveys to heal the hurt.

After all, when was “Library-Gate?” Over a year ago? People are still bitterly licking their wounds from that undemocratic fiasco.

They have not forgotten. And that scar was made abundantly clear as residents took to social media and local coffee tables to express their distrust vis-a-vis this new attempt to canvas public opinion.

It’s time for the mayor and council to put our money where their ears are. When will they start listening, respecting, and making a real effort to rebuild trust?

For this voter, I feel I’ve been bitten far too many times. I’m going to be shy for a while yet.

Shawn LeMay, St. Albert