An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
SOME PEOPLE WOULD ONLY be happy if the entire world was gray and beige, devoid of extras.
I draw that conclusion from some of the reaction to last week’s Armchair Mayor editorial that praised the Lansdowne parkade mural. Most people agreed it’s a nice thing but, predictably, to some it was a “waste of time and money.”
Taxpayer dollars, they say, should go to reduce homelessness. Or fix the opioid epidemic. Or end poverty. Or fight climate change. Or fill pot holes. Or deal with other social injustices or natural or human-caused disasters or bare necessities.
It’s the same any time money is spent on the enjoyment of life. There’s always something more important. They said it when the Tournament Capital facilities were built, when the art gallery was built, they say it about the performing arts centre, when anything that smacks of being non-essential is done or contemplated.
Such people understand neither the concept of a complete community nor the importance of arts, culture and leisure. They don’t understand that we must and do tackle the problems but at the same time we have to be bold enough to embrace the optional.
A community isn’t just about surviving and working — it’s about playing, too.
It’s admirable to care about the less fortunate, about social and health challenges, about urban decay and public safety. But we need to make time and spaces for ourselves and our children to enjoy.
We should be proud of our community; there’s a lot to be proud of. We need to remember that when we find fault with it, we’re part of what makes it what it is. We can either work to make it better, or simply complain about wasted tax dollars.
It’s our choice.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org