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Seasons bring change

At the Fitzhugh, we embrace change with excitement and open arms. And it’s a good thing, because we’ve been through a fair bit of it. 

Here in Jasper, the in-between season is one of the biggest challenges we all face. As anyone knows who’s competed in the annual Spring Run Off (coming up again on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12), when you wade into the muck of change in full swing, you are liable to get your feet dirty.

Sometimes, change grows from a trickle into a flood, washing anything within reach into its churning, muddy current. What results is a torrent of creativity and energy, but also uncertainty and confusion. Where the path was one day, it isn’t the next. Heck, entire bridges may wash out.

How a community responds to this chaos says much about its character. Do we turn our backs, or do we pitch in to help rebuild the bridges, patch the roofs and clear the paths again?

Jasper can be proud of the fast response and hard work that has gone into projects like Fifth Bridge at Maligne Canyon. Or the Jasper Museum roof repairs. But community engagement is a challenging process, as the municipality, Parks Canada and many other local organizations have discovered. 

We have encountered a few challenges ourselves, so we can empathize. The key as we see it is to open a dialogue and obtain input for decision making, rather than make assumptions and impose answers. That’s why, in March, we launched our reader survey, some of the results of which are published on this page.

We are listening to your input. It’s a dialogue we hope to continue. But for community engagement, what is really needed is for people to come to the table, and to do so with open minds.  

This week at the Fitzhugh, we are pleased to welcome Nicole Veerman to the editor’s desk. Chances are you already know her from the time and effort she’s devoted to covering this community. Nicole is the kind of person who rolls up her sleeves and gets to work, and that is the kind of ethic we prize, especially as this publication emerges from under our own scaffolding. 

During that transition, we have been thankful for those who have remained steadfast. We hope that as we proceed along this new path that we will convert many more. We are going to build bridges, clear paths and stimulate dialogue. 

There is a deluge of information, disinformation and distraction out there to occupy you, but being informed and participating in this community is an investment we think is undeniably worthwhile. It’s up to you whether you decide to engage in that process, or get washed away by the flood.

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