LETTER: Government in competition with community groups

I find it disappointing to see that the Braefoot building issue is such a reversal of what governments should be doing. During the 1970-80s when I was in charge of community development in the city of Calgary we successfully turned municipal recreation facilities including swimming pools, hockey arenas and more over to community organizations. These community organizations ran no end of recreation programs and community services as well as the municipality could do.

There was at one time an understanding that governments should give the community the assistance to ensure that the people could provide for themselves. That is the very definition of community development.

Today we have governments duplicating work of community organizations and private business. We see governments running services in competition with private enterprise and the community. It is no wonder, for example, that many fitness facilities have such a difficult time being successful when the taxes they pay are used to provide services in competition with them.

My message to governments is get out of the duplication of services and start enabling organizations to do what they can. To community organizations my message is quit going for more and more government handouts to build empires and stick to what your community needs.

John Plantinga


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