Commentary – Good life not so good

Jeff Burgar

Those of us who grew up in a small town have heard the story many times: “I can’t wait to be old enough to get out of this town.”

Now you may think this is just particular to your community. Sort of in the sense there is the old, old complaint, “There is nothing to do here.” You might have heard that a lot the past few weeks as many of our young folk itch to get back to school. Then there is the “I wish there was a Wendy’s, or an Arby’s, or a Keg or (insert anything you like here.)”

These are common themes. As said, it isn’t just in your town. It’s everywhere. The grass always seems greener someplace else. You want a Canadian Tire? The next person wants a Tiffany’s. You want a Keg? The next person wants an Olive Garden. From High Level to Rocky Mountain House, it all the same – whatever is in front of you just isn’t good enough.

Over the past several months, the huge American Citi bank was running magazine ads. In one ad, a former mayor of Kansas City says “People couldn’t wait to get out of Kansas City. Not anymore.” In the ad, mayor Carol Marinovich talked about how businesses were failing and thousands were moving away. People wanted more. So the city brought a professional soccer stadium and a race track and new shopping districts. It’s a success story.

And of course, not everyone is happy. Some people still want better jobs. Some people still want a safer community. Some people still want better quality education. Some people might prefer a waterpark. Or a Disneyland. The point is, some people are never happy. They simply cannot appreciate what they have.

This brings me to something very troubling. The closing of the Immigration Centre in Vegreville. From all reports, both town and county councils there were completely blindsided by the closure, which isn’t really a closing. It’s a move of the facility and all the jobs from Vegreville to Edmonton. It seems too many people, or more properly perhaps, too many people of influence, were not happy having to work in Vegreville. In fact, they were so unhappy with the thought of living in Vegreville, they commuted from Edmonton. Which actually is not all that bad a drive. Just less than an hour on a divided highway.

Government excuse makers say they needed more bi-lingual people, and basically, staff from the city didn’t like life in Vegreville, and also didn’t like to commute. My thinking is, people should never take jobs if they don’t like things about it. And if they decide one day they have had enough, then quit. Don’t commute. Don’t lobby to move an office to satisfy your unhappiness. Meanwhile, you are doing nothing, absolutely nothing, for your community if you don’t live there. 280 direct jobs ripped out of Vegreville, so a few people can have more places to eat and shop. No doubt the next stop is Vancouver or Toronto for these unhappy folk just climbing a ladder. Disgusting.

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