Saturday, May 21, 2011

Community worth fighting for

This morning at our local park families from around the neighbourhood got together to celebrate spring with a flower-planting party. Flowers and planters were provided; some people brought baked goods and fruit. One of the dads showed little girls how to run with kites; one of the moms did some elaborate face painting.

Also this morning there was a rally at the Byron Linear pathway as the community continues to express frustration with the development project that ignores local interests for private gain. Some people from the neighbourhood also set up tables to collect signatures and raise funds for the community appeal before the Ontario Municipal Board.

These two events, though organized separately, show not only that this community willing to fight, but what we are fighting for.

We are fighting to keep our green space – and to oppose changes to city by-laws that could see other parks cut up to make room for development and private laneways – because we use and value this space. Our kids play in the parks every day. On the Byron path, young ones learn to scoot and bike and parents walk their kids to school and back. We don’t just value our green space as some NIMBY excuse, we value our green space because it is important to the quality of our lives.

We are not celebrating yet, but it does seem that the proposal to cut through the Byron pathway is off the table – at least for now. Our councillor has reversed her position and it seems the November 2010 ruling – which said access across the Byron pathway would not be allowed – still stands.

Unfortunately, our councillor is publically suggesting that the community sold out the residents of Shannon Street by rejecting this proposal. A local community association responded with an open letter asking that she not misrepresent our position and that residents not be pitted against one another when there are alternatives which “are respectful of local residents and of the Community Design Plans that citizens and the City have invested so heavily in developing”.

The politics are discouraging and what is at stake is more than a few metres of pathway – its our quality of life.

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