The following is a copy of a letter that was sent to the chief administrative officer at the Town of Canmore.
Sunday morning, July 1, I finished work at 11 a.m. and headed home. While at work, a couple of us joked about being “the truly dedicated,” those who don’t mind working on the holidays, so that the rest of the world can take their kids to see the parade and celebrate Canada Day. This is an extraordinary country we live in and Canmore celebrates it in style with a fun, energetic parade.
But... I live on 15th Street. I had read in the paper that the parade route was going to start pretty close to my house. And on my way home, I had seen the sandwich boards stating that Railway Avenue would be closed at 10th Street. I wasn’t sure if that would apply to local traffic, so I drove to the barricades in front of the fire hall to ask if I could get through.
I wasn’t the only local asking, and I could see I wasn’t the only one who was surprised when the volunteer didn’t even let us finish explaining before mechanically stating that we’d have to park at Sobeys and walk home.
But I live just up the street... again he interrupted me to say that’s unfortunate, the road will be re-opening in approximately four hours.
Resisting the temptation to take a photo of this guy and post it on Facebook with the caption “I crapped my pants this morning,” I tried another route.
Turning onto 17th Street, I find another line of traffic almost 15 cars long. I obey the signs and get into the “Local Traffic Only” lane.
I wait patiently while the RCMP speak to each vehicle in turn. I can hear the bands warming up and smell the horse manure and see the toy Shriners cars and the big, nervous smiles of everyone involved.
I also personally know the pretty lady who leans over to tell me that Ninth Avenue is closed. I’m just heading home, I tell her, and I promise I won’t run over any baton twirlers. She, at least, understood that I wasn’t a threat; I only control what’s going on here, she said, and allowed me to turn onto Ninth Avenue.
This time, the guy behind the barricade is kind and apologetic, trying to get me to park at the Rec Centre, before quickly moving the barricade to allow me to try to go down the back alley behind my house. Ultimately, I parked just a few blocks from my house and really didn’t mind walking the rest of the way. It was a beautiful day.
My roommate, on the other hand, was trying to go to work. I thought I was inconvenienced... he had to walk to Sobeys and take a cab, all because the town didn’t bother to notify residents that we wouldn’t have vehicle access to our homes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
My neighbours were also very frustrated, as they had plans to spend the afternoon hiking and climbing near Lake Louise. If we had known, they said, we would have left before the roads were closed. Oh, so you weren’t notified either? Nope, they replied. Don’t think anyone was.
Please tell me how you plan to avoid this going forward. Perhaps a letter, delivered a week in advance to all of the residences along the affected area?
I really don’t want to believe that The Town of Canmore thinks it’s okay to inconvenience locals, that our frustration is a small price to pay for the almighty tourist dollar.