Skateboarders doff hats in show of respect


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The skateboard park may be nothing more than a memory, however the young boarders who saw the facility as a second home are not about to abandon the cause.
A group of them were in the gallery for Monday’s council meeting, but were not allowed the opportunity to have a representative present their case at that time.
The collective cold shoulder by council has prompted a rebuke in the community in the form of letters to the editor and numerous comments on the T-J website and on Facebook.

Here’s one letter from reader Paula Carr.
“Strength, determination, focus and bravery: these are the traits we need to encourage in our young people,” reminds Paula.
“The next generation will need all of these and a knowledge base about our government to lead us.
“Skateboarding requires strength, determination, focus and bravery to master the sport, plus a good skateboard, expensive shoes and a tight-fitting hat. Seventy pairs of these shoes left their comfort zone Monday night and walked to city hall to find out how their municipal government operates.”
Paula continues: “They were told council would not be addressing the skateboard park that night. I am not sure of the manners required for a city meeting, but I think a cordial welcome and professional behaviour is appropriate.
“They did not go there to ask for an apology for the $130,000 spent eight years ago, which resulted in a skate park that was never satisfactory for their needs and was deemed unsafe after eight years.”
Paula observes: “Some went with their hats off (quite a statement of respect in a skateboarders’ world) and waited to see how the future plans for a new skateboard park will be handled.
“What an opportunity — young people at a city hall meeting. Politicians finally get to talk to the future voters. Parents can see their children showing responsible adult behaviour.
She closes with: “To the skateboarders who showed up, I want to say don’t give up. You will make a difference and you can help make the next park a showpiece in our community.
“To the elected officials at the city hall meeting. I want to say step back, take a minute and realize the opportunity you have been given.”
On launch day Wednesday of our new web home, the T-J test drove the spiffy polling feature with the question: “Should the mayor have allowed skateboarders to address council on Monday?”
Of the more than 40 respondents, 81% felt that would have been appropriate. Undeterred, the group of young boarders appear set to seek delegation status at a council meeting some time next month.

WHITHER THE IRON HORSE?
Should it stay or should it go?
The question of what to do with the annual Iron Horse Festival is again before city council, pitting festival organizers against downtown merchants.

The August event may be good for attracting visitors downtown, but does little for the tills in retail outlets along Talbot Street, according to merchants.
A poll on the T-J website has added little clarity to the debate that has flared up on several occasions over the lifespan of the festival.
As of Friday afternoon, only 58% of respondents were in favour of keeping the festival on Talbot Street. The remainder either wanted the games, rides and booths moved elsewhere (22%) or weren’t in love with the Iron Horse Festival at all (20%).
Over on our Facebook page, it’s a different story, with passionate support for the summer blast.
As an example, Kathy Cornish-Cedar enthuses: “Absolutely!! Give businesses an opportunity to be part of the festival by opening their doors and spilling onto the sidewalks. Both businesses and the festival can WIN! It is important for the festival to stay on Talbot, it is part of the atmosphere and very important!”
As always, your input is important to us and with our new home on the web and growing community on Facebook, it just got a whole lot easier.

A CHANGE IN THE STANDINGS
A big oopsie in the treasury department at city hall dealing with 2011 remuneration and expenses for the mayor and members of council.
We printed the totals in this corner last week, based on a report presented to council. However, that document failed to fully account for the benefits package available to our municipal officials.
Aldermen Gord Campbell, Dave Warden and Sam Yusuf are listed as receiving $2,000 in lieu of the benefits package. The remaining members of council did not have the $4,675.77 city cost of the non-statutory benefits package included in their total remuneration.
So, here is the new remuneration for those five individuals: Mayor Heather Jackson, $64,230; Tom Johnston, $26,671; Mark Cosens, $26,630; Jeff Kohler, $25,675;and Lori Baldwin-Sands, $23,774.
That now puts Messrs. Campbell, Warden and Yusuf at the bottom end of the remuneration scale.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“It would still be a community festival and it would, hopefully, take away the arguments that we’re receiving more and more from business owners that say this is affecting their businesses in a negative way.”
Ald. Gord Campbell, who suggested during Monday’s council meeting the possibility of moving the Iron Horse Festival to the downtown rail corridor from its long-time home on Talbot Street.

City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to ian.mccallum@sunmedia.ca.

City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to ian.mccallum@sunmedia.ca.

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