'The City of Initiatives' welcomes you - Metro US

‘The City of Initiatives’ welcomes you

I guess we’re going to have to change the signs that announce Edmonton as a “City of Champions.”

That’s not because we haven’t won anything recently, but because city council has declared that Edmonton is a “City of Learners.”

For Edmonton to trumpet itself as such, I guess there must be other cities where people are just self-satisfied dolts who are letting myriad learning opportunities pass them by. That makes me kind of sad.

This new initiative can be added to the other initiatives we have on the go. Quickly, how many can you name? Did you identify the Great Neighbourhoods Initiative or Racism Free Edmonton? How about the Edmonton Urban Aboriginal Accord Initiative? Maybe you could only identify the Edmonton Community Drug Strategy or Responsible Hospitality Edmonton.

If you got all those and added the Expo 2017 bid to the list, you get bonus points.

Edmonton may not be able to figure out how to fix its sidewalks and potholes or how to get snow off side streets in the winter, but it sure can come up with initiatives that may or may not make you happy to live here.

Those of you who follow the machinations of our civic mavens may remember when we were touting ourselves as a “smart city.” Apparently, we were smart enough to realize that what made us a “smart city” made just about every other major city on the planet one as well.

Coun. Don Iveson is the chair of the Edmonton Learning City Initiative. He explains it this way, “We have outstanding learning opportunities in our city, but we need to help more people take advantage of them. When we all embrace learning in our daily lives, it enhances our role in the community, our performance in the workplace as well as our personal development and physical well-being.”

It’s hard to argue with that kind of saccharine mom-and-apple-pie statement. But is embracing learning in our daily lives really going to make this city a better place to live? Or would we be a much better city if we learned how to stop being so dependant on automobiles, how to stop turning farmland into subdivisions and how to keep innocent citizens from being stabbed on the street?

Like most of the visions of Edmonton we have heard about over the years, this one looks more like a hallucination.

Terence Harding is a corporate communicator. He’s also a keen observer of all things Edmonton; edmontonletters@metronews.ca.

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