A nfnf letter

We like to read letters to the editor from Wolfvillians. It gives us an idea what our fellow residents think since we don’t often get to hear their views expressed at town hall meetings. The latest letter which caught our attention was in The Register a few days ago with the header “County’s got a deal for you“. [There is a copy posted at Nofarmsnofoods]

The writer comments on Kings County’s “special treatment plan” for people who have agricultural land which they wish rezoned “but can’t because of some pesky old by-law“.

We do not know whether the 7 points laid out in the letter are accurate. They may be as we are aware that Councils will often give favoured interest groups special treatment, will do what they want to do, are deaf to constituents who disagree and often use taxpayers money for expensive consultants to conveniently back them up. We are absolutely on side with Ms. Haig-Stewart if there has been an abuse of due process. As a resident of Wolfville concerned with “fair and ethical” governance we  expect to see her speak up when she sees it happen here.

The writer appears to be against the transformation of farmland into other uses. What is of interest to us is that we have not seen an equivalent concern about “developments” in Wolfville. Did she write a letter when the Woodman lands orchards were rezoned? Was she vocal about Railtown which was built on dykeland?  Since she shows concern for this issue in areas outside of Wolfville was she helping put up signs to stop the transformation of farmland in New Minas into mega stores like Future Shop, Home Depot et al and their parking lots? Perhaps she is new to the area. Or we missed seeing her complaints. Or perhaps she favours developments in New Minas and Wolfville, just not in Greenwich and Port Williams.

We take issue with one of her statements.

WARNING – You will repeatedly have to listen to the arguments of the overwhelming majority of your fellow citizens who oppose the Special Treatment Plan and believe instead, in fair and ethical government and the need to save our agricultural resources for future generations. [emph ours]

Overwhelming majority of your fellow citizens? Could we please have some evidence for that notion? Was there a survey? No one asked us. [And if there was a survey answering it would have to be mandatory with a penalty to be valid as we have been told over and over again concerning the long form census.] Is she just counting signs for and against? This is not evidence. Anyway, at least as many properties don’t have signs of either type as have them.  And the statement is not very specific. Which citizens does she refer to? Citizens of Canada? Not likely. Are these citizens of the whole Province who are “overwhelmingsly against” Kings Council on this issue, or just citizens in the Valley, or just citizens in Kings Co., or just citizens of Wolfville? Or perhaps they are just citizens in the writer’s social circle.

This is a complex issue. A balance needs to be struck and the people best qualified to decide are those who live and work in the area concerned. The NFNF campaign has become a cause celebre. There always seems to be one to keep the activists active.

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3 responses to “A nfnf letter

  1. Good points. Saying “everyone else agrees with me, so should you” is a time-honored weak argument.

    I think one question sometimes underexplored, and maybe applicable to some of your examples, is that of culture/long-term orientation. How does redevelopment and rezoning fit in with the mission and culture of the community? In the case of Railtown, that could be viewed as something that enhances Wolfville and doesn’t upset the balance, whereas this rezoning (even if big boxes are excluded and it’s mostly light commercial, suburban, and urban agricultural) could fundamentally change the character of the area, for better or worse. And really, in the case of the Silver Fox Dr. development with Future Shop, etc., , it’s an area already encroached on, and the character of New Minas already so commercial that it’s not really an affront to the agricultural sensibility or pre-existing nature of the community.

  2. Railtown could be viewed as something that enhances Wolfville and doesn’t upset the balance? Railtown is a horrific architectural pastiche; a poorly executed, over sized, Disney on the dykes that I would argue has degraded Wolfville’s character.

    I agree with your thoughts on New Minas though.

  3. Who knows what the “majority” think? Personally, I look to the merits of the analysis that underpins a viewpoint. I’ve not been overly impressed by either the “facts” or “logic” used by NFNF. Previously I have provided a critique of views expressed by NFNF. The NFNF response has not been persuasive.

    As to Railtown, I think it may be a regrettable commercial mistake. Downtown Wolfville actually has/had an under-exploited natural commercial advantage, namely views over the dykes and water and Blomidon. Historically the water-side was the seedy side — dockyards and then rail transport — and so the town was developed around a street scape. (Or this is how it seems to me, a recent arrival, correct me if I’m wrong.) Nowadays, I find it difficult to understand why downtown has turned its commercial back on the views which seem to me to be its biggest natural advantage.

    Frankly, I think Wolfville Town has mucked up.