What is it about democracy that Council doesn’t get?
In 2003, a referendum vote on the Parkway showed a majority (55%) of those voting did not want the Parkway to happen. Parkway proponents and City councillors have rolled out a variety of objections to the results of this vote. This is unfortunate because, no matter how Parkway proponents cut it, when given time to think about it and have a clear and open opportunity to choose, people choose to protect their greenspaces and the quality of their life.
First, those who want to pave the Parkway indicate the referendum wasn’t binding since it did not have the minimum number of voters as required by Provincial law. While they may have a legal case, they do not have a moral one. The vote was and is a good indication of public sentiment. Canadian historical practice is such that governments usually have control without a clear majority of the electorate (our current federal government is a prime example). Getting enough voters out to make municipal referenda binding is very difficult. Given the habit of councils ignoring the people’s stated will, it is hardly surprising.
Then they argue that, while people voted against the Parkway, they didn’t vote against a scaled down version of the Parkway, such as a two lane road. Such slippery logic twists the overall “No Parkway” slogan of those voting. People want parks not Parkways.
Shifting demographics makes it likely that now even more people will be against the Parkway. What seems clear from even cursory surveys is that those who want the Parkway tend to those who are older and have a “50’s-60’s” mentality to transportation: if you have a problem, build more roads. The young especially, don’t see development as the solution to all problems and are more likely to oppose the Parkway. Given this group is slowly moving into their middle years, it is likely opposition to the Parkway will have increased since 2003. Young people increasingly view the car as less important in their lives than their parents. A part of their lives, yes, but not the centre of civilisation as the older boomers see it.
Will City Council have the courage to put this to a clear and open vote by the people? Given their current track record, it is doubtful. Which is a shame, given the Parkway has been possibly the most divisive issue in the City for the last 10, 20…40? years.
When given an opportunity to provide input at the Parkway Corridor Class EA process the first and number one comment was “protect our greenspaces”. Why doesn’t council get that?
If you oppose the development of the Parkway as a road, you must act! While various groups and individuals are attempting to fight the Parkway through the Parkway Corridor Class EA process, City Council has shown it does not always listen to logic and really only responds to one thing: pressure from voters.
Here’s how we create that pressure:
Support public interest groups
Friends of Peterborough Trails [Website] [Facebook Page]
Friends of Jackson Park [Facebook Page]
Contact the Mayor and Council
Write, call or otherwise contact your council and Mayor Bennett now! Indicate how their vote on the Parkway may (or better yet WILL) affect your vote in the next municipal election.
Find their contact information in our Ptbo Politics page or below are two lists you can cut and paste into your e-mailer, assuming it accepts either the semi-colon delimited and comma delimited format.
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
This is one of a series of posts outlining Why the Parkway is a bad idea.