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Some anti-X-Park arguments not worth making

St. Marys Journal Argus editorial

With the decision to go with Heritage District, we appear to be past one big municipal debate and onto another: The location of the X-Park.

The first proposed site, due to concerns of its close proximity to the fire hall, is now out of the running, (although many maintain it is still the ideal choice.) Choice two is Cadzow Park, but a small group of Cadzow neighbours have begun writing letters and appearing at Council meetings insisting the X-Park does not belong in their area.

Let’s talk arguments against: If your beef centres around concerns over traffic or safety, fine…there could be a case made for validity. If your focus is the preservation of the former friendship centre, ok. That’s a legitimate concern too.

But those whose arguments centre around either A: “I live in a quiet neighbourhood and I want it to stay that way,” or B: “I don’t want the kind of people around that this would attract.” need to give their collective heads a shake.

First, the former: Recently, there have been a number of instances of citizens insisting upon their right to live in absolute, deafening silence. Whether it be live music in downtown Stratford, barking dogs, or, now, the X-Park, there is a small fraction of society that inexplicably got the idea inserted into their heads that they have the fundamental right to hear a pin drop in their neighbourhood.

But it’s not a right. There will always be a factory, a busy street, an outdoor pool, a passing train, get-togethers, or the incessant buzzing of a nearby power box to annoy you. If you want to live in absolute, zero-decibel quiet, silencing the signs of life around you, invest in a submarine.

Secondly, the “not these people in my neighbourhood” argument. Recently in London, there was a community meeting where concerned citizens were voicing their opinions on a proposed methadone clinic to be built in their area. It’s disturbing how similar the arguments against this clinic and those against the X-Park have been.

The “not these people” argument was used so unapologetically in London that one city councillor stood up and pleaded with the audience to stop talking about clinic-patrons so negatively lest they be charged with a human rights violation. Now, regardless of your feelings on Methadone clinics, the one glaring difference between these two cases is clear: “These people” in London are individuals struggling with opiate addictions. “These people” in St. Marys are our own kids.

Perhaps those who would paint potential X-Park-patrons as criminals, scumbags, and drug-users, would be happier if the money for the park were instead spent on a boarding school somewhere far outside of town, where we could send the young people of St. Marys once they stop being cute, only letting them back in once they have cute babies of their own.

Sounds like a pretty dumb idea, doesn’t it? Well, guess what? So does your argument. Implying that a public park is not for teenagers is downright hateful and ignorant.

If you’re planning on using either of these two arguments in future letters or meetings, feel free…but be warned, you do so at the risk of sounding far more childish than the people you’re trying to shut out of Cadzow.

If either of these two thoughtless opinions kill the Cadzow location, expect them to kill location options C and D as well, wherever they may be. Hopefully, by the time the adults are done bickering, the generation that has worked so hard to make the X-Park happen won’t be too old to use it.

(C.G)

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