A salute to Prince Albert’s Shannon Hurl. At the same time a statement to Prince Albert city council. And a question for the Province of Saskatchewan.
Word came Monday that the Save our Summer, Save Our Slides effort fell short of winning the $100,000 grand prize for being the top vote-getting community of the ten across Canada selected as part of the Kraft Celebration Tour. That distinction went to a worthy project in Barrhead, Alberta, where the money will be put towards revitalizing their curling club.
It was one woman, Hurl, who decided enough was enough and decided to do something that Prince Albert city council is either unwilling or unable to do -- get the Kinsmen Water Park waterslides some much-needed attention.
And wow, did she ever.
She got Prince Albert some tremendous national exposure on TSN, drew attention to a community issue that just shouldn’t be, and added pressure to politicians in Prince Albert, and maybe a few in Regina, to right a wrong before it drags into another summer without the community’s much-loved waterslides.
The $100,000 grand prize would have gone a long way towards the estimated $260,000 cost of replacing the slides. With their closing this summer, this was the first time in almost three decades that kids, and kids at heart, couldn’t enjoy the public waterslides.
Last week’s celebration day that included a live broadcast of TSN SportsCentre was a huge success, despite the lack of co-operation from Mother Nature. The grand prize would have been the icing on the cake.
But, the celebration, and the weeks of voting and the being selected as one of the top ten communities for the effort should all combine to remind city council how important this facility is to the community. If this one woman can start a movement that raised $25,000 for the effort and boosted Prince Albert’s national profile, surely our city leaders can find a way to fix the problem completely.
If this council, and to an extent, this community doesn’t find a way to take Hurl’s efforts and push them to the next level of actually solving the problem and this drags into a second summer, that will be a massive failure.
The $260,000 total that is needed isn’t chump change, but when you look at the overall city budget, there’s got to be a way.
Or maybe we need to look at the provincial budget where, frankly, $260,000 pretty much is chump change. Throw in the fact that so many Saskatchewan residents from outside of Prince Albert also enjoy the waterslides here, and maybe it’s time the provincial government stepped up and helped to get the job done.
That might be a question for Prince Albert residents and even those outside of the city to pose to their MLAs.
It’s not every day that an editorial can close with a quote from the Simpsons, but in this case, that famous cry from Helen Lovejoy rings true --
“Oh, won’t somebody please think of the children?”