Thursday, 30 June 2011

There Goes the Neighbourhood

When my buddy Rick (Moose) Moore's family  moved to Toronto when we were teens I was distraught at the thought of him leaving our little town, afraid he'd be swallowed up in the big city.  On one of his visits back to Belleville he reassured me.  "Jeremy," he said, "in Belleville we live in our neighbourhoods.  In Toronto we live in neighbourhoods, too.  There's just a whole lot more of them."  With those words of wisdom my fears were at rest.

I wish Moose was here to talk to Mayor Eddie and council.  (Why does our council entertain delegations if they have no intention of listening, or perhaps even changing their votes because of what they've heard?)

As when they opened the WFCU Arena and closed several neighbourhood ice rinks, by opening the aquatic centre they intend to close down neighbourhood pools and the main library in this "big box" approach to city services.  I think that's a bad idea.

~ conflict of interest alert - all 3 of my kids have put themselves, or are putting themselves through University on lifeguard wages ~ all 3 of my kids have given everything they have (including cash from their own pockets) to make a kid's summer a great one at the neighbourhood pool ~

We live in our neighbourhoods.  My kids spent summers walking over to an outdoor pool and spending afternoons with their friends.  If we lived in the vicinity of one of the soon to be closed pools, the summer magic and the lessons of community learned at an early age would have been lost to them, as it will be to kids today.

Pools, rinks, libraries are NOT cost items on the city budget, at least not in the sense of a profit/loss calculation.  They are the services provided with the tax dollars pooled for the benefit of all.  Yet lately we hear about pools losing money, or libraries costing money.  They're supposed to.  So is snow removal.

When we land the big swimming events, who's going to be temporarily evicted?  Swim classes, recreational swimmers, library users who can't find a parking spot, all of these citizens will have to cool their jets while the big pool and all the little ones in the complex are being used for some mega-event or another.

I'm in favour of a new sports-plex type installation downtown, seriously really in favour.  It's good for business, it's good for tourism, it's good for Windsor.  I'm not sure it has to be so big, and I'm just not in favour of shutting down the lifeblood of our neighbourhoods for this Council's legacy project.

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