Fair her­itage to stay where it is

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

an age where money is ev­ery­thing, when most gov­ern­ments are will­ing to sac­ri­fice their his­tory and her­itage for pen­nies on the dollar, it is com­fort­ing to see that the Vil­lage of Ayer’s Cliff is will­ing to sac­ri­fice rev­enue in favour of keep­ing a big part of its his­tor­i­cal roots.

The town has voted on a res­o­lu­tion that will des­ig­nate the Fair­ground as a his­tor­i­cal and her­itage part of the town, in fact freez­ing it from any devel­op­ment in the fu­ture.

If a large lot, far away from down­town, has an ask­ing price of over a mil­lion, one can imag­ine what the fair­ground, with di­rect ac­cess to the main street, would fetch. The fair­ground is a condo de­vel­oper’s dream come true. And we all know how much of an im­por­tant fac­tor taste and preser­va­tion of her­itage are in what­ever they are do­ing.

So the town is sac­ri­fic­ing a lot in the short term to pre­serve it­self for the fu­ture.

We are pre­serv­ing a slice of his­tory; not a Dis­ney recre­ation of one, but the real thing. Com­pletely un­or­ga­nized, with sub­stan­dard build­ings built when the need arose and when the money was avail­able, rather than fol­low­ing a mas­ter plan.

There is some­thing corny about the Fair; its of­fi­cial name is the Stanstead County Agri­cul­tural Fair. Well, there is corn, a lot of peo­ple don’t even care to visit the hor­ti­cul­tural pav­il­ion, skip­ping it for the real corn: Pop­corn. The smell per­vades the place.

Then you will go to the Grand­stand, de­signed for every­body un­der four and a half feet tall. The rick­ety struc­ture al­most sways when it is full. Again, the smell will get to you: the con­ces­sion is just un­der­neath and if the pop­corn doesn’t get to you, the hot dogs and ham­burg­ers will. And you will first en­dure the tor­ture and then for­get about it, al­most as if, still in the present, you were back in the 1800’s.

For the first time in the preser­va­tion game, Ayer’s Cliff is not try­ing to pre­serve his­tor­i­cal build­ings; in­di­vid­u­ally they have no merit what­so­ever, nor the site, but the whole.

An at­mos­phere, if you will, to be pre­served for a long time. Not even a year­long one, but a week dur­ing the fad­ing days of sum­mer. Yet, the week of the Fair is al­most the trade­mark of Ayer’s Cliff. It alone sur­vives in the re­gion, there were oth­ers back in time.

We are pre­serv­ing a cul­ture, a real one, not an ar­ti­fi­cial or recre­ated one. On a warm evening, when teen boys and girls, bunched to­gether, are ey­ing each other, their par­ents, if present, look­ing the other way as their par­ents did be­fore them, for 170 years. They will eat cot­ton candy, a rather new ar­rival, less than one hun­dred years old, hear the strange carny call that forces you to spend money on games that you al­ways lose but some­how win, al­most mag­i­cally, when the girl you love wants the big plush bear. No need to worry - as in wrestling, noth­ing is fixed and reg­u­lated…

So a town wants to of­fi­cially pre­serve ‘magic’. If there is one en­deav­our that must be sup­ported with our heart and soul, this is the one. In Le Jour­nal de Mon­treal of Satur­day May 23rd, Coun­cil­lor Mr. Marvin Ro­trand is say­ing that there are too many coun­cil­lors in Mon­treal. What a co­in­ci­dence af­ter my let­ter to the Edi­tor of Wed­nes­day May 20 ex­press­ing my view that there are too many rid­ings in the Prov­ince of Que­bec and too many coun­cil­lors in Mon­treal com­pare to On­tario and Toronto. Mr. Marvin Ro­trand has been a coun­cil­lor in Snow­don since 1982 and is de­mand­ing a public con­sul­ta­tion on the sub­ject re­gard­ing the num­ber of coun­cil­lor that Mon­treal should have. My ques­tion is why a public con­sul­ta­tion? Why can all th­ese elected coun­cil­lors can­not de­cide that there is too many coun­cil­lors? I do not want to know who cre­ated that mon­ster I just would like to see elected peo­ples de­cide that enough is enough. Imag­ine 103 coun­cil­lors for Mon­treal with a pop­u­la­tion of 1, 7 mil­lion com­pare to Toronto with 45 coun­cil­lors with a pop­u­la­tion of close to 4 mil­lion. By the time we go all around the coun­cil­lors ask­ing them if they are in fa­vor of a mo­tion most of them for­got the ques­tion. We are all re­spon­si­ble to a cer­tain de­gree of all th­ese non­sense in vot­ing for past and present gov­ern­ment agree­ing to this Ba­bel Tower. Let us be prac­ti­cal in or­der to make our fu­ture a lit­tle less com­pli­cated and more ef­fi­cient like Toronto, Cal­gary and other large cities in North Amer­ica.

Maxime Doyon born in Stanstead living in Dudswell

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.