Saturday, October 25, 2014

Great to see

Of all the pressing issues facing the Town of Fort Frances these days, the one which seems to ignite the most debate involves that relatively small piece of open space known informally as the “Nelson Street Park.”
Neighbourhood residents have banded together not once or twice, nor even three times, but four times now over the past 20-odd years to make an impassioned plea to save their “park” from residential development, writing letters to the editor, gathering signatures on petitions, and addressing town council.

We’re certainly not talking about Central Park here, but this all boils down to the classic fight between “green” space and development that every municipality­—whether a small town or big city—wrestles with. The push for much-needed property tax revenue in the Civic Centre’s coffers on the one hand; a place for kids to play while residents understandably try to protect their own property values on the other.
Both sides have made compelling arguments, and council is now left to make the political decision this coming Monday on whether to proceed with the re-zoning. And then only time will tell if it was the right one.
Previous councils backed down three times in the face of neighbourhood opposition, although that appears set to change. But even if they fall short this time, one has to admire the passion and tenacity of those fighting to save the “park.” They were willing to take yet another stand rather than just sit back with a “Why bother?” shrug of the shoulders—and that’s great to see.
It is only when we give up trying to fight city hall, or fall prey to apathy about what is happening in our community, that we truly lose.

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