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Reality TV woos towns

Reality TV producers will visit Lacombe and Penhold next month to explain a series about residents managing municipal services to save money.

Force Four Entertainment staff will be in the Penhold Regional Multiplex gymnasium at 7 p.m. on Dec. 4 and the Lacombe Memorial Centre’s County Room at 7 p.m. on Dec. 5 for town hall meetings.

“People get upset in our country about the waste and the way things are managed,” Nicole Lawson, the company’s director of development, said from Vancouver.

“And if you had a shot at it, what could you save?”

Producers will explain what they’re after, followed by question and answer sessions.

“We’re looking for adventurous communities and 20 to 25 adventurous families who are up to this challenge,” said Lawson, adding what residents save in funding town services, they keep.

Although it will have a “light tone and we can’t do anything illegal,” said Lawson, the unnamed show wants to “open up the gamut of cans of worms. Everything is on the table right now.”

The series is about “taxes in general” and not “making people look bad.”

“We want everybody to walk away feeling better for participating.”

Blaine Dushanek of the Lacombe Taxpayers’ Association said the company’s attention is “awesome” whether Lacombe gets featured or not.

“It’s how mayor and council are treating the taxpayer. The show coming to town will have a good chance to make people realize the taxpayer has some power.”

Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie said previously he opposes the program and the city wouldn’t participate, a position Dushanek called “dictatorial.”

“There may be some insights to the council and mayor and administration to find out that some services could be carried out by the public.”

Ken McCarthy, who led a fight against Penhold’s 4.75 per cent tax increase with a petition last summer, said the producers coming “is going to be all positive.”

“We’ve given quite a shakeup to the town hall and they’re going to have to pay attention. That’s why the TV show wants to do something on us.”

The two communities are among a dozen Canadian municipalities to be shortlisted and the first to meet company representatives. The company hasn’t determined when a final decision will be made.

Force Four Entertainment made Village on a Diet for CBC, Family Cook Off for Food Network and Million Dollar Neighborhood for the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Questions or concerns about the program can be answered by contacting Force Four development producer Tara-Lee Novak by calling 604-669-4424 or by emailing tv@forcefour.com.

rfiedler@reddeeradvocate.com

 

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