This evening’s Servus Place Citizens’ Advisory Task Force town hall meeting at the Cornerstone Pentecostal Church in Grandin Mall was a low-key affair. Only about 75 people attended, task force members and staff included. While there were a few cranky remarks – and not a few very long-winded ones – no one there seemed ready to storm the Bastille.
Indeed, my sense was that the most of those who came out view the work of the committee with a reasonable amount of good will and are prepared to reserve their judgment until it has an opportunity to report its findings.
Pretty much all the usual suspects – including this one, I’m afraid – got up on their hind legs and made the points they’ve made before in one forum or another. Lots of suggestions were offered – not all of them compatible with one another. For the most part it was a pretty unmemorable occasion.
Still, the best point of the night – in your blogger’s opinion – was made by Malcolm Parker. Mr. Parker, as those who follow St. Albert politics will remember, has run for City Council on more than one occasion. Based on his dignified and forceful performance this evening, he deserves a chance to serve in office.
Malcolm summed his argument up succinctly in four points:
1) The shock of the Servus Place deficit has worn off, and the excitement has died down.
2) Now that that’s happened, the St. Albert community wants Servus Place to be “a sustainable entity.”
3) To do that, though, the Task Force needs to “look at the past to learn from our mistakes.”
4) Therefore, “the Task Force must make it a priority to address the question of accountability.”
To me, and I think to most of the people at the town hall, this hit exactly the right note. It wasn’t vindictive. Malcolm didn’t call for heads to roll. But it did recognize that as a community we need to do more than make Servus Place a sustainable asset. We also need to ensure that an important project like this doesn’t go awry again.
The best way to do that, as Malcolm pointed out, is to forthrightly account for what happened.