Parade Day – Building Community

 

As a local doctor and business owner, I wanted to express my thanks and appreciation to those who manage local FaceBook groups for their work in promoting community growth, networking, and support. In particular, many people appreciate YIKWBDAI (Yes I know where Black Diamond Alberta is…), managed by Samantha Lethbridge, and Crystal Salamon’s efforts in the Diamond Valley Communities’ Forum. Many have been following Crystal’s list of events and happenings during the Saturday June 6th Parade Day festivities. Both forums also provide a number of on-going updates on the details including road closures and late-breaking news.

These two forums are a clear indication of how active people in the two communities really are, and the many vital services they provide through charities and business. Crystal’s list of events is a clear testament to just that – businesses and charities out there in the streets reaching out and building a better community:

Here is a listing of events from Saturday June 6, 2015. A scan of participants reveals a number of businesses and charities all interested in supporting the communmity in general, but also a number of community-centred goals and services.There are a few distinct categories of events:

  • Participation – like the parade itself or Discovery Days in Turner Valley, where the event itself is geared towards public participation and entertainment.
  • Markets – where local artisans can offer their goods for display and sale.
  • Charity – funds are raised to promote local charities, often through sales of food. The vendor provides food for a fee and collects money to support a group. Such is the case with Diamond Valley Dental, for example.
  • Public Service – activities that promote public services, such as the Children’s Vision Event at Diamond Valley Vision Care, the book sale at the Library. In our case, we are offering free child vision exams (a provincial service) and providing hot dogs and pop at no charge.

In all instances, people are becoming familiar with local charities, service organisations, and businesses, and how these are all here to support comunity. Parade Day is a great success in promoting the dynamism of the people in the local communities.

 

EVENTS and MARKETS today! (…. with FREE SHUTTLE between BD & TV, at AG Foods and Valley Liquor!)BLACK DIAMOND:

  • —- Diamond Valley PARADE – 10-11:30, view the map here: http://visitblackdiamond.ca/…/05/Map-of-Parade-2015-6.pdf
  • —- Sheep River Centre Live MUSIC AND CRAFT SHOW, 11-4pm (on 1st St NW, between Centre Ave W and 1st Ave NW) – http://www.sheepcreekarts.ca/downlo…/rhubarbfestival2015.pdf
  • —- Parade Day MARKET- Indoor market at Griffiths Centre, 10-4pm (122 Government Rd) – also collecting donations for the food bank – https://www.facebook.com/events/913700428688709/
  • —- Pancake BREAKFAST at Diamond Valley Dental – 8-1 (raising $ for Oilfields Curling Club, $5 donation) – https://www.facebook.com/groups/blackdiamondab/permalink/10153321318092801/
  • —- 5th Anniversary Children’s Vision Event at Diamond Valley Vision Care! 11-1:00, Book a free child eye exam and get FREE HOT DOGS AND POP!

TURNER VALLEY:

  • —- Discovery Days MARKET & FAMILY EVENT – Millennium Park, 11-3:0. Lots of vendors, food, activities… usually lots of fun stuff for kids! (by the 4-way stop on hwy 22)
  • —- RHUBARB FESTIVAL AND QUILT SHOW – at the Sheep Creek Arts Council/Valley Neighbours Club, 1-4pm (133 Sunset Blvd NW) – http://www.sheepcreekarts.ca/downlo…/rhubarbfestival2015.pdf
  • —- New WEEKLY MARKET with local vendors at the Chin Up Cafe (105 Sunset Blvd, SE)! http://panopticnews.com/su…/chin-up-cafe-new-market-opening/
  • —- CHARITY BBQ – Valley Liquor, 10-2 – FaceBook
  • —- Wild Things ART SHOW – 10-4pm, Pottery, Wearable Art, Photography. Video presentation at 1pm. (See directions in the poster in the comments)
  • —- RUMMAGE SALE – St. George’s Anglican Church (just south of the 4-way stop). 12-4pm. For more info call 403-933-3620.
  • —- DINNER, DANCE, CONCERT – Fundraiser at Turner Valley Legion – Live music (by Haggis), dinner, dancing, silent & live auctions. Starting 7pm, tickets $40 at door.
  • —- BOOK SALE – Sheep River Library, 11-3 pm. Books, CDs, DVDs, fiction and non-fiction, paperback and hard cover – all 25 cents a piece!

There are a couple of points to consider in preparing for next year, and it’s worth a broader discussion because I think we can do more to ensure local efforts are maximized and the event is run more efficiently for all concerned. Some of this will sound political, so I will try to present ‘pokey’ statements as kindly and objectively as possible. My goal here is not to take a political or negative stance on things, quite the contrary – my intent is to remain focused on community building and not touch politics at all.

  1. Finding Current Information Is Difficult: When one scans Google for local events around Parade Day, the details are hard to find. Even the Town of Black Diamond’s site offers only a minimum of content. The town does have the start of a toursism website built on WordPress, so there is little reason to not permit local organisations to simply submit their own posts and updates. As it stands, the information on the site is incomplete, but I should not expect town employees to be able to keep up with all that is going on, so all the more reason to ask local participants to manage their own materials and updates. FaceBook is wonderful, but we should not rely on volunteers to ensure information is accurate and current.
  2. While the events listed on FaceBook and in the tourism site describe local groups supporting local community efforts, one major event was not listed, and it really should have been. This is the tent/hot dog event held by our federal MP John Barlow. In this case, a political party set up a tent to give away free hotdogs, for what appears to be a promotional event for the party. There is no benefit to the town, beyond offering free food. We can argue the point, but ensuring funds for local community groups or educating parents about children’s vision are far more tangible benefits. Had I or my contractor known, we might not have offered the same promotion.
  3. Point 2. above leads into this next concern, and that is one of the need to coordinate events, even to the point of scheduling what happens and when, and for what reasons. So, while we and others ensured we were working with local providers, building the local economy and creating employment, a major outside force such as a national political party depleated the wind in the sails of a number of local groups by undercutting them, and for no apparent benefit to the community. At the very least, our MP could have consulted with local groups to develop a plan for collective success, rather than to focus on very narrow interests.

Solutions to these concerns are not complicated, but would be very much appreciated. An easy start is to open the tourism site up to local vendors for posting, which would reduce the workload for town officials by allowing local interests to manage the details. Next, the town could and perhaps should be looking at engineering Parade Day to ensure local efforts are not stifled, and that local development takes precedent over political promotion, regardless of the ruling party. There is room for many community groups and businesses at the table, and these should not be marginalized or forgotten.

I, like many, look forward to ongoing efforts to build community in the Diamond Valley, and to another great turnout at Parade Day 2016. Rest assured that Diamond Valley Vision Care and other local groups will continue to serve, 365 days a year.

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