Why our history matters
In recent years Strathcona County has experienced substantial growth in its population. There are 22,000 more residents living in the County today than just 10 years ago and 30,000 more than in 1992. In fact Strathcona’s population has more than doubled to 87,998 (May 2009) since 1976, and it is still growing. Of this current total, 61,660 residents live in urban Sherwood Park, double what it was in 1987, and 26,338 live on farms and in rural hamlets and country residential subdivisions. As newcomers, whether they move to the rural area or to Sherwood Park, the latest residents are likely to have limited, if any, awareness of the County’s history and heritage.
It is a thesis of Community Heritage Legacy that if residents were to have a greater awareness of the history of the area, then they would have a greater appreciation for the welfare and continuity of their community (the County) overall, and its cultural and natural heritage. And with a greater appreciation, they would want to contribute to maintaining this continuity for the future.
The need is now. Strathcona County has been experiencing rapid growth and change. Community Heritage Legacy responds to a clear need to preserve community history and heritage, make them accessible to the public today, and secure their continuity into the future.
In 2006, 14 community stakeholders, indicating their endorsement of Community Heritage Legacy, wrote letters agreeing with the need and showing positive support for the initiative. Some expressed interest in participating in the effort. In 2008, results of community consultations indicate a broad base of interest in history and heritage, and associated activities and achievements.
That said, consultation participants also identified concern over:
- lost opportunity in capturing knowledge, stories and memories
- the need to save historic documents and photos as archival records and permanent resources for the community
- the need for historic research and interpretation of existing records
- the threat to our natural heritage due to growth and lack of awareness
- the community’s diminishing connection with the past in terms of its rural character, its human history and its natural heritage
- a loss of a sense of community identity that reflects shared respect for its past and aspirations for its future
These concerns call for a concerted effort to capture and convey local history and heritage in Strathcona County.
- from the Community Heritage Legacy Framework Report adopted by Council on December 8, 2009