Connecting Council – Public Letter
Phil Meagher, Councillor of Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
After spending 21 years on the municipal council, people still ask me how I determine which way I vote on the different bylaws, notices of motion, committee recommendations, etc. Most of the time, I have to admit, it is situational. This meaning, I take in any pre-readings on the subject and what has been presented.
When I do, there is always this one thought in my head (no matter what the subject of debate is): How will this affect the future generation, our kids? My big questions are: Will they be burdened with a big debt and how will they, and their children, benefit from this?
I guess my day job and council are similar in that way.
As the Deputy Superintendent of Fort McMurray Public Schools, I have been conditioned to ask myself, before any decision: “Is this what’s best for our kids?” That simple question can put everything into perspective.
Here are some examples of past council decisions that have weighed heavily on putting kids first: The snow clearing bylaw – It was decided not to make big windrows to the side of the streets due to kids sliding down onto the street from those piles; and crosswalks were unanimously supported where needed for the protection of children around school sites.
One of the main reasons I supported the pool at MacDonald Island was for the opportunities it provided the children of Fort McMurray, and many more.
I do believe our kids have better facilities now than when I arrived here thirty three years ago. It was at that time I started helping with the 1985 Summer Games, and I have served – in some capacity – at all our games we have held since.
These games help our children in so many ways, not just to test their skills, but their sportsmanship as well. As you know, the council supported the bid for the 2018 Alberta Winter Games, we were successful and now we have provided the children of Fort McMurray a chance to showcase their talents and sportsmanship in their own backyard. Many of our children who participate in these 2018 games will be born and raised right here in their hometown of Fort McMurray!
With over 100 babies being delivered at the Northern Lights Regional Hospital each month, why wouldn’t we consider how our decisions will affect their future here in Fort McMurray? These kids are our future. They will be the ones making the decisions in a number of years. And, some will even be sitting on council. I just hope they can look back and realize that all our decisions were made with them in mind and our decisions put them in a community we can all be proud of.
Phil Meagher is a RMWB Councillor for Ward 1, and has submitted an open letter to the public as part of Connect Weekly’s Connecting Council feature. On behalf of the Mayor and Council, letters will be published on a weekly basis. Councillor Meagher can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 780-215-4555.