This letter is a response to “Higher-earning families part of St. Albert’s appeal.” I’d say I’m without words, but I have rather a few.
I’m 17 years old and I attend Grade 12 at one of the great schools available to me here in St. Albert. I hold down a part-time job at a local restaurant to help pay for college next year. I was born and raised in St. Albert in a middle-class family of five.
My family would not say we have a large house but I think we would say it’s large enough. Theoretically, if I had less money, would I not then work more hours in order to support myself and have less time to spend vandalizing city property or breaking laws? By that logic it’s the people that have too much money and therefore too much spare time on their hands that are to blame. Either viewpoint is hardly fair, of course ... as a famous man once said some two score and seven years ago, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Now I have a dream that I will live one day in a city where people will not be judged by the content of their wallets but instead the content of their character.
The fact you have labelled low-income earners as de facto criminals is appalling. When I go on a family outing, a police presence is not required. I have yet to meet one of these “unruly families” you described as being attached to low-income housing. If you’d rather St. Albert remained as it is with “few low-income families” I’m afraid my recommendation will be to dig a moat around your property and station armed guards or move to a gated community because, sadly, not all of us make six digits a year. Don’t get me wrong, it would be fantastic if we were all that rich, but if we’re all working hard at our high-income jobs, who’s going to work at those recreation places you so enjoy? I’m pretty sure the waterslide attendants at Servus Place don’t make quite that much (sorry, guys).
Let’s have a look at a career that really built this city, literally: the carpenter. According to the WAGEinfo section of the Alberta Occupational Profiles website (alis.alberta.ca), the average top wage for a carpenter in Alberta is $31.56 per hour. So If I worked 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week, 52 weeks a year, I would make $65,644.80 a year. But if St. Albert is a city of high-income people, then there wouldn’t be any carpenters to build your beautiful houses or other varied possessions. The problem is that it’s the little people who built this city. And it’s the little people who built it because they wanted to build a community they could live in. The dream of St. Albert as a gated community with only high-income residents and little affordable housing is not that dream.
I will not comment in length on your teen’s hard time finding friends when you moved here ... I will say I was in the same position once. However, I learned that friends gained with material things are friends only as loyal as your pockets are deep. I didn’t need to show my friends an amazing house or brand new game system to have a circle of people I would trust completely.
This city was not built by people with “high or above-average income.” Throwing money at the ground does not build you a city. This city was built by the little people, the “low-income” people. I wish you luck in creating a city without the little people ... I wonder who’ll mow the lawn.
Lucas Moskaluk, St. Albert