WESTLOCK – The Town of Westlock has codified the creation of a community events committee, with an eye towards creating a number of new events like a winter carnival.
At their Sept. 27 meeting, the final of this group’s four-year term, town councillors unanimously passed Community Events Committee Bylaw 2021-21, a five-page document that outlines the committee’s roles and responsibilities, membership and meeting dates.
“I applaud this committee and think its creation and formation is going to be an excellent avenue for community boosting, which coming out of COVID is something that our little town really needs. I think this is excellent,” said Coun. David Truckey.
CAO Simone Wiley said the formation of the committee is one she’s “pretty excited about” and is hopeful it will be able to come together quickly after the municipal election Oct. 18 with a meeting in early 2022. In a follow-up interview she said a combination of things led administration to bring the bylaw forward.
“Lack of volunteers … we struggle as a community to get people involved and a lot of times you need a champion — a lead organization to bring things together. I think (this committee) will promote community and there’s more as a community we can do and that’s the impetus for this committee,” she explained.
“It will just be nice to be able to promote community participation.”
The request for decision to council states the committee will works alongside the Community Services Department and other departments throughout the year to “coordinate, plan, promote and execute community events and town-sponsored activities.” The committee will also approve applications from community volunteer organizations looking for assistance in promoting their own events.
“In theory I would love to see some sort of winter festival or carnival in the Town of Westlock. We have Light Up and then everyone hunkers down and we don’t see anything in the community for a quite a while,” she said.
Wiley said the group’s mandate is relatively broad, although its intent is to focus on new events and existing town events. The committee and the associated bylaw is based on a similar one in the Town of Beaumont and a number of other municipalities.
“I would certainly see there being a connection between being a partner in events like the Ag Fair. I think the ag society has done a phenomenal job in all of their years of organizing that event, but I see some opportunity for some participation from the town in that for sure,” said Wiley.
The committee, which will meet quarterly, will include seven members — a town councillor who’ll act as chair, one member from FCSS, one from the chamber of commerce and four members of the public from either the town, county or village. Councillors will be appointed to one-year terms, while the remainder serve two years at a time. The group will also include a non-voting liaison from Community Services.
“I think when you get a bunch of people from various aspects you can have some really good brainstorming sessions and ideas and then they can branch out. The thought is that this will be the umbrella group for planning — letting the town know what it will cost or if there needs to be fundraising. And then there will be sub-committees that actually do the detailed planning for the specific event,” Wiley continued.
“And it may be different committees for different events, that still needs to be fleshed out a bit. The thought is just to bring a lot of the community together.”
“What we’re looking for are eager and enthusiastic participants and really that kind of ends the criteria,” added mayor Ralph Leriger.