A struggling economic climate in Alberta has many citizens taking a magnifying glass to all levels of government.
The Okotoks Ratepayers Community Group formed last spring with the intent to be a watchdog on all things council.
By hitting the pavement at Town events and going door-to-door, the group managed to have a petition come before council that resulted in the famed tiny home project for the D’Arcy lands being voted down in August.
Its goal since then has been to keep an ear to the ground and continue to raise concerns with councillors and Town administration whenever issues arise. Most of the issues tend to be development projects and large expenditures of money, like the community learning campus and Alberta Summer Games bid.
The Ratepayers wrote open letters to council and presented them at the Nov. 12 meeting to express concern with the Town bidding on the games and to ask questions about the viability of the proposed campus expansion to the existing Okotoks Public Library.
However, not all the information they presented was entirely factual. For instance, council approved the Summer Games bid with capital investment not to exceed $850,000 - a far cry from the $2 million put forth by the Ratepayers in their letter.
And the proposed community campus project, as it currently stands, would work out to about $200 per capita, not the $800 per capita the Ratepayers told its followers to expect.
There’s nothing wrong with coming forward and expressing concern or asking questions of government - that’s part of democracy.
But it’s vital the facts presented in public are accurate, especially in this world of virally-spread information and opinion.
Otherwise, concerns and valid questions may fall through the cracks while arguing stats and figures becomes the focus.