A pseudonymous author (is this better than being anonymous, Wendy?) writing in the May 8-21 ish of the Grapevine has sent out a call for Wolfvillians to get involved in local politics.
The headline is “Sneak Preview” written by Rea L. Sproquette (Reel sprocket, get it? He must read Frank!). The item starts out discussing several films to be shown at the Al Whittle Theatre this month but then the writer digresses after the first couple of paragraphs, and launches into a political appeal.
Politics in Wolfville: Not a movie. You care, right? About a community where you chose to hang out, live, learn, work, create? During recent Town Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and budget meetings a small group clamoured to dump significant MPS and budget items, with some success.
If you envision a Wolfville that supports the arts and a creative climate, the Market, a sustainable, just and equitable path for all- and yes, that acknowledges tough and responsible decisions and change ahead- your days of indifference to municipal politics are over. Fini! You’re needed. Get together to talk and learn; work together to speak out and inform. Recruit/be a candidate and help elect any who promote a world view you desire for Wolfville. October is the election. Together we can create local government that works with all people to lead Wolfville into a poitive future. Let’s start. Now. See you at the movies, maybe.
We could applaud this attempt to rouse Wolfville’s residents to educated involvement if only we didn’t suspect it was just a call to arms to battle against not with those who are already active and involved, who are also intent on retaining those aspects of Wolfville they love. Let’s look at that first paragraph again.
You care, right? About a community where you chose to hang out, live, learn, work, create? During recent Town Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and budget meetings a small group clamoured to dump significant MPS and budget items, with some success.
Small? We don’t feel this writer would have described the group that “clamoured” for a no smoking in cars with kids bylaw as “small“. And he probably wouldn’t have used the word “clamoured” to described their appeals. And we don’t think he would say that the group that wants the Town to ban pesticides via a by-law is a small group which wants to “dump” them. Both of those groups who have the ear of Council are much smaller than the numbers that came out to recent meetings on zoning and the outrageously extravagant budget, which even the deputy mayor said shouldn’t have made it to the Council table.
The writer implies, by his subtle wording, that retaining the R1 zones and lowering taxes for everyone will destroy the community you care about, where you chose to live (if you can afford to), learn, hang out, and create. [He doesn’t mention work or run a business but we are sure he meant to.]
This implication couldn’t be further from the truth. We believe groups such as the neighbourhoods group and the new one on the block, the ratepayers group, as well as unaffiliated but vocal residents who turned up at the recent meetings think the things they “clamoured” for will instead SAVE the community they care about. We think they want what we want: a vibrant town where there is a mix of people – all ages and from all walks of life- healthy businesses (including a Just and equitable farm market ) where we can buy locally, a town where different ideas can mix and contribute to the whole culture of the town, not just in the arts field, but in a variety of areas which affect our lives and which residents care about, according to our different interests. Such a mixture, which gives vitality and interest to a place, cannot exist where one world view is favoured over others.
We don’t think Council should promote one ideology. We think people of the town, following their own choices (in an environment where they are free to choose), create the atmosphere. It is Council’s role to provide amenities and services which residents need and want and can afford, to represent them in an open and honest way, pursuing policies which leave residents free to create and contribute to a community they want to live in.
We, and we believe others, who are “clamouring” for change, want many of the same things for our Town as the thinly disguised author [we all know who he is and where he sits at the Council table, right?]. We just don’t think this Council is pursuing the right policies to get there. We don’t think that eliminating R1 will lead to a Town with a vibrant mixed community. We don’t think strangling businesses encourages buying local. We don’t think increasing density will lead to more walking or a more attractive environment. We don’t feel sky high taxes make Wolfville affordable for young families or for retirees on fixed incomes. We don’t think allowing certain developers to have their way while discouraging others is just and equitable. And so on…
This Council reminds us of parents who over parent. Their intentions may be good (although like most parents they are more self serving than they admit) but their offspring (us) need rescuing from the culture of hyper parenting. We need a Council who will let us “BE” us instead of one which tries to shape us into their image of “ideal” citizens.
We feel this Council has had its chance for a while and it is time for others to take the reins and see what they can do.
“Don’t believe the hype, slow down, enjoy do the simple things” . This could be the laudable aim of a new Council and if given the opportunity new ideas could produce revitalizing changes which would amaze and ultimately please even you, Mr. Rea L. Sproquette. We’ll see you at the movies.