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$Millions for the Mall?

"They're going to be looking to invest a large amount of money...they want to bring it back to life and that's huge...I think every city needs to have a good mall...I want to see people employed."

Moose Jaw mayor Fraser Tolmie is talking about the promise of a newly re-furbished Town 'n Country Mall.  The mayor is telling us the new owners of the mall want to make it better, attract more tenants and more shoppers.

It's promising.  We have some really great stores in that mall but they need company.  They need more traffic.  

Many of us remember when that mall first opened and how exciting it was.  The place was packed - full of people, local people, with new stores and new products.  Many of us also remember the ensuing decline of downtown Moose Jaw over the course of the next 15 years.

More stores, more business, more jobs...it's all good.  Isn't it?

Downtown Moose Jaw

So, we hired some consultants to help us take a look into tomorrow.

Experts came into our city to tour, to talk and to listen to those who care about the future of downtown Moose Jaw.  Those experts presented their report to city councillors and administration last night.

The ideas and guidelines presented won't surprise you.  Council was looking for a new "long-term vision and development framework to guide growth," with a focus on finding and achieving a "lively mix of commerce, culture and housing."  

In my opinion we already have that but there's certainly room for improvement.  I'd like to see River Street developed.  There's not much night life to attract the over-40 bunch these days.  They miss the old hotels on River.

I'd also like to see someone find an adaptive re-use of our historic Natatorium building before we lose it.

We can point to mistakes made and long for the past all we want but we can't change what's been done.  We CAN learn from mistakes though, and we CAN focus on the future.  That's exciting.

Grey Cup Memories

It was just last week we were talking about Thanksgiving in the USA.  They do it right as far as I'm concerned.  They take a four day weekend.  We only take three.  We should make it four. 

I also believe we should make the Monday after the Grey Cup game a national holiday.  It's our championship for the Canadian Football League.  Even people who don't follow football celebrate on Grey Cup Sunday.

I hosted a Grey Cup party at my parents' place one time when they were away.  It was a stag.  It turned into a gong show at half time.  There were about ten of us.  We were all fired up and we decided to play "goal line stand."  

The sofa would be the offensive line.  Each young man would take a turn with the football, trying to jump over the couch and into the end zone.  The other nine guys would try to stop him.  In the end there were bruises and blood and a broken chesterfield.

It was silly and irresponsible and so much fun.  The fellas still talk about it over 30 years later.  No one made it to work or school the next day.

You see?  Grey Cup weekend needs to be a long weekend.

City Manager Resigns

So, when you watch question period in the House of Commons or the Saskatchewan Legislature, you hear the opposition parties asking the tough questions of our governments.  The process is all about accountability.  

However, in municipal politics, there's no opposition.  We elect a mayor and six councillors in Moose Jaw with the expectation that they'll work together to make the decisions that keep our community vibrant, safe, attractive and functional.  That does not appear to be happening.

Some believe we have a number of city councillors who treat city administration like the opposition.  Their work is continually questioned and in many cases they get sent back to the drawing board to do it again.  

City Manager Matt Noble tendered his resignation this week, saying he's been trying but he has been "unable to resolve some issues" and he is "in a position where a contractual issue...is in dispute."  We don't know exactly what that means but Mr. Noble says "there is potential" for legal action.

Are some city councillors slowing the process?  You might want to give some thought to that.

American Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends.  We have some Americans living here and, in fact, we have a number of American listeners in Montana who love listening to The Greatest Hits of All Time.

I am a proud Canadian.  Patriotic for sure.  But I believe our American friends do a lot of things bigger and better than we do and I'm envious.

Thanksgiving is at the top of the list.  We mark it in October and that's OK with me.  It's timely - a harvest time celebration for us.  But, we only take one day, making it a three day long weekend.  Americans take a FOUR day weekend for Thanksgiving.  I wish we did that.

I also like the way Americans support their teams.  From Little League to high school football to university sports and the pros.  They do it right.  They show up.  They get together for tailgate parties with motor homes and barbecues.  We don't.  I wish we did.

A lot of Americans live by the old saying "Go Big or Go Home."  A lot of Canadians....just stay at home.

Happy American Thanksgiving or, as we call it in Canada, Thursday.

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