Fergus-Elora News Express Editorial
It’s time to stop ignoring vandalism in downtown Fergus.
The downtown BIA, businesses, residents, township council, and local police need to make this issue a priority and deal with it – before the vibrant downtown people are hoping to develop is ruined before it gets off the drawings.
To continue the BIA’s metaphor, there’s no point in “setting the table” for downtown revitalization, if someone’s going to come along and smash all the dishes.
People who don’t live downtown, or who only go downtown for shopping and special events, might be surprised to learn what goes on there, especially overnight on weekends during the summer.
Downtown business owners will mention the “usual level” of vandalism that occurs regularly: garbage strewn about, broken beer bottles, drug paraphernalia lying around, spray painting, damage to flower beds, broken windows. It seems to be just another part of modern “urban” society – spending Monday morning cleaning up after the thoughtless morons who can’t be bothered respecting others.
That’s really what’s at the root of the issue: respect. Whether you’re a black-clad anarchist or a bored teen hanging out with nothing to do, if you had any respect for others – if you followed the old adage “treat others as you want to be treated” – you wouldn’t be smashing windows or daubing slogans on walls.
If you had to sweep up the mess, clean up your litter, wash off your graffiti, and pay for damages, you might discover that breaking stuff and making a mess isn’t quite so much fun either.
So what’s the solution? Brighter lighting? High floodlights in unbreakable fittings coupled with high definition video cameras? Continual police patrols? A downtown “neighbourhood watch?” Blaring classical music and opera in the back alleys?
Perhaps the first step is to get together and discover what the problem actually is. It’s difficult to come up with a solution without knowing the parameters of the problem. What’s actually happening overnight, where is it concentrated, and when is it taking place?
Armed with that information, it might be possible to work out a way of combatting the problem. Without it, any concrete actions are likely going to be a wasted effort.
But it’s clear from what’s happened in the last few weeks downtown, that something has to be done.