Wakefield Ensemble re-emerges as Village Forum


by admin on April 28, 2011

By Andrew Salkeld

A dozen years ago, Wakefield showed the world what a handful of volunteers could do – rebuild the symbolic Wakefield Covered Bridge! Strengthened by that momentous effort, Wakefielders decided that they could shape their own future by coming together for common cause.

Now, on a roll, Wakefield Ensemble was created to continue the momentum, to be the focus of village debate and the sponsor of future village projects. For seven years and more, Wakefield Ensemble helped to change the face of Wakefield and provided focus and social stability through its various projects and endeavours. Geggie Park, Theatre Wakefield, The Village Trails, Wakefield’s own urban development plan (the PPU), linking up the Trans-Canada Trail and many more valuable initiatives took shape.  The village met together regularly and discussed burning issues and possible projects thanks to Wakefield Ensemble.

As village confidence grew, a newer generation of energized citizens emerged. Projects no longer seemed to need the incubation and funding provided by Wakefield Ensemble.  Projects became self-starting as volunteers flocked to the various new causes, such as the new Community Centre and the Fair Trade Village initiative. Now, most recently, three or four pressure groups have spontaneously emerged to influence the pressing infrastructure challenges – the spring water, septic sewage, the Hwy 5 extension, land expropriation and the industrial park. Volunteers cluster and support these initiatives as they appear and as perceived danger and threats to the community present themselves.

Meanwhile, the core volunteer organizations, such as Scouts and the Library, the Hospital Volunteers, and many others continue their valuable work in providing a service of quality and excellence to the community.

But over and above all this, once again, there seems to be a cry from many residents, workers and lovers of Wakefield for someone, some organization, to take a central role in enabling the village to sit together and debate and make reasonable choices about the future. Knee-jerk reaction to threat is not the way thoughtful and creative people should have to address community challenges and community planning. A community voice or a community choir of voices is needed, they say, to define the Village Vision once again and to see that Wakefielders get what they want and to support our councillor.

Wakefielders don’t want to be dictated to by folks from elsewhere who think their own political, parochial or financial interests trump the interests of the citizens of the Fair Village.

Furthermore, with the extraordinary number of volunteer-based local groups organizing and contributing to the richness of our lives, there is a real danger of volunteer fatigue setting in – so that in times of crisis only weary hands are available for the pumps!  Pulling together, discussing issues and sharing volunteer and administrative resources therefore make sense.

It is for this reason that Wakefield Ensemble is re-awakening – not to replace any existing organization or initiative – but rather to support and strengthen and to provide a focus and a forum for intelligent discussion about the future and to be a project sponsor and enabler.

The job of Wakefield Ensemble is to safeguard the social and environmental well-being of the Village. It’s your venue, your club, to remain aware of and influence the worthy issues and initiatives that are underway at any time. And it’s your village debating society. It’s your way of knitting together all parts and aspirations of the village.

Together, we can take back our village from those who would steal it, erode it or erase it!  Please come out at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, May 4 at Vorlage to express your views and to get Wakefield Ensemble back to full steam.


Andrew Salkeld is a Wakefield resident and president of Wakefield Ensemble.