Bluffton sees the best and worst of community relations

What a strange day in May! Bluffton was a microcosm of the world in action.

Dear Editor,

What a strange day in May!

Bluffton was a microcosm of the world in action. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Two major community activities were occurring at the same time that (to me) represented the best and the worst of community relations.

On the east side of the hamlet there was a meeting comprised of representatives from the rural area, the petroleum industry and the provincial /municipal government. On the west side there was underway, an infrastructure project that, after four years of planning, was becoming a reality.

I was present at both.

I am also the angry landowner who, after 20 years of working amicably with the local petroleum industry, through the Rimbey Region Multi-stakeholders Group, tendered my resignation and left the meeting on the east side of the hamlet to rejoin the happy, hardworking west side activity.

The playground was being installed by community volunteers with the assistance of a lot of muscle power provided by one petroleum company in particular. Enough appreciation cannot be expressed to Conoco Phillips for the funding and manpower that they provided. This company is the gold standard that all companies operating in the area, should emulate. They were there right from funding to ground work, assembling equipment and curbing.

And how about those community volunteers! Chris Quaif, Rod Mayner, Larry Hansen,Val Hilliker and Gale and Derrick Cornell. They were the basis of an expanding work group that included those who donated a potluck feast that we all devoured (outside with our backs to the cold spring wind).

This west side event culminated in a welcomed friendly take over by the kids from Bluffton.

The east side meeting (as I see it) appeared to be a hostile takeover by the petroleum industry, who were present, (and two companies in particular) of a community group that had been active and committed to working together for 20 years.

All over the world rebels are taking over countries or parts of countries. It reminds me of the ’60/70 science fiction comic books that depicted a world of anarchy.

Companies are buying out other companies. Control seems to be the name of the game. In this world of corporate craziness there must be some level headed, fact based organizations that support the three-pillar concept of economy, environment and community. If this can’t be found at the corporate level then perhaps landowners (for the sake of future generations) can co-operate with one another in bringing groups together who share these mutual values.

Always with this in mind — there is no room for personal agendas that don’t support organizational goals.

Irene Lovell,