Don’t get in the way of progress
A graduate of the University of Toronto, Trevor Hutchinson is a songwriter, writer and bookkeeper. He serves as Contributing Editor at The Lindsay Advocate. He lives with his fiancee and their five kids in Lindsay.
Kawartha Lakes City Council recently voted to reject a motion by the municipal Heritage Committee to designate the properties at St. David Street and Riverview Road in Lindsay as a site of “cultural heritage value and interest.” The motion also barred staff from continuing the process to designate the site officially. I don’t think that motion went far enough.
Who cares if the land itself was part of the original Purdy tract? People don’t need to know that the first European settlers called Lindsay Purdy’s Mills before it was Lindsay. So what if more than 350 citizens took time to sign a petition or attend a rally? Why should government listen to its own experts? Heritage should be brought up only when it’s convenient. I mean, really.
We are talking about progress here — and things like culture and heritage can muck up the churning wheels of developers making money hand over fist.
You see, the province or the rest of the country may not think too much or too often about Kawartha Lakes but there is money to be made here if you are an out-of-town developer. You just have to out-lawyer and out-wait any under-gunned opposition from concerned citizens or, God forbid, elected official. Thankfully for developers, the newly neutered provincial Local Planning Appeal Tribunal could make such democratic expression a thing of the past.
That’s why Council might be onto something. But why go for half measures? Let’s have a bylaw that bans protest! No, I’ve got it: Let’s have a bylaw that bans even thinking negatively about what the developers want! I mean, Kawartha Lakes has a history of following, so let’s be leaders for once — in the race to corporate hegemony!
And don’t get me started about schools. They are teaching climate change! Climate change? Don’t people know that NASA states that only 97% percent of climate scientists believe in climate change? Not to mention all those lessons on non-violence and co-operative problem-solving. That sounds like communism to me. I know education is a provincial matter but is there nothing the city can do to stop this subversion?
What did our democratic traditions ever do for us (if you don’t count better health, education, working conditions, happiness, culture, freedom)? We are talking about money here. And money is now more important than any irksome traditions that previous generations fought and died for.
But what if I’m wrong? What if concerned citizens should expect help from their public servants, even when what they are interested in goes against the wishes of their overlords — I mean, elected officials?
Maybe democracy, as messy, imperfect and even inconvenient as it is, is the only hedge against the powerful? Thankfully such thoughts aren’t against the law. Yet.