“13 Ways to Kill Your Community” – Doug Griffiths MLA Battle River – Wainwright Constituency and Kelly Clemmer, Editor Wainwright Review
Doug Griffiths, the principle author of this book, as an MLA, is co-author of the government report Rural Alberta: the Land of Opportunity which led to the creation of the Rural Alberta Development Fund.
“13 Ways to Kill your Community” is a must read book for anyone who is involved in community development at the local level. This book is an ideal “tool for your toolkit”. As the author indicates in the prologue he came across 13 ways to kill a community but there are probably additional ways that could be identified as well.
This book identifies not only causes for death of a community but provides insights as to potential solutions to maintain and enhance survival of the community. The author states:“That government cannot make them (communities) successful. If they (communities) themselves don’t decide to be successful.”
The 13 ways as identified by the author and suggested community killers are are:
1. Don’t Have Quality Water – Ensure there are no plans in place nor efforts made to build on the quality and quantity of your community’s water supply.
2. Don’t Attract Business – You must work hard to ensure new business do not come to town or have competitive business tax.
3. Ignore Your Youth – Ensure youth are made aware that there is no hope or future for youth in the community.
4. Deceive yourself about real needs or values - Do not identify what your community truly values or what it truly needs.
5. Shop Elsewhere – Do not patronize your local shops and as a business owner never give customers a reason to shops locally.
6. Don’t Paint ¬– Do not take measures to enhance the aesthetics of your community. If you do people and businesses might move there.
7. Don’t Cooperate – Beware of the volunteer vampire
8. Live in the Past – We all know that things were better in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s always remind people of the good times.
9. Ignore your Seniors – Ensure that you do not provide services for seniors in your community. That way , seniors will move to communities that have services.
10. Reject everything new – Always do what you have always done. This will ensure consistent results.
11. Ignore Outsiders –Always remember that outsiders are dangerous as they may cause success. Make sure they are excluded and eventually they may leave your community.
12. Become complacent – Lose focus of your goals.
13. Don’t Take Responsibility – Remember if you can only manage one thing to kill your community, not taking responsibility for anything is key
As you read this book, within each chapter your own personal experiences working with communities may come to mind.
A community does not need all 13 ways to kill itself, it can do it with one or two. Although I’m sure we have seen communities that practice all 13 plus a few others.