What will Queens make of the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion?

The Queens County Advance - - FRONT PAGE -

brag about our “qual­ity of life” but say noth­ing about what con­sti­tutes “qual­ity of life” and how we can im­prove it. They will pro­mote growth as if we can get big­ger while re­main­ing small.

No one should hold their breath wait­ing for some­one to say a word about how Queens could be­come a kinder, qui­eter, gen­tler com­mu­nity; a truly won­der­ful place to live for any­one and ev­ery­one.

There is noth­ing in­her­ently wrong with con­trolled growth but con­trolled growth im­plies a plan and vi­sion for the fu­ture. Will there be prom­ises of a helpful gov­ern­ment im­prov­ing our lives? Some­one will surely say some­thing about re­duc­ing red tape but say pre­cious lit­tle about how or for whom or even why we have too much. Will we get in­spi­ra­tional words for the fu­ture? Will we get any am­bi­tious plans for mak­ing Queens a more beau­ti­ful and de­sir­able place to live? Will we get far reach­ing am­bi­tions like set­ting pop­u­la­tion den­si­ties to pre­serve what makes Queens spe­cial? Will we get con­crete plans for our small com­mu­ni­ties like Port Joli, or Port Mou­ton, or Green­field, etc. to make them the small but live­able com­mu­ni­ties that we can take pride in? Or will we get prom­ises of more jobs and more money for those who have it and want it with the im­plied ul­ti­ma­tum that, if you don’t like it you can leave.

If all we get are prom­ises of more jobs and busi­nesses (a box mall if we can get one) and cul­ture ( im­ported from else­where) then let’s be up front and ad­mit we don’t care about Qual­ity of Life. What we care about is more life. If our tar­get is a pop­u­la­tion of 15,000 then say so and make plans on how to achieve it while (hope­fully) main­tain­ing our much loved small com­mu­nity way of life - if that mat­ters.

Our Mu­nic­i­pal Plan­ning Strat­egy from 2009 con­tains a lot of moth­er­hood and ap­ple pie stuff say­ing the re­gion will do the right thing – al­ways. It says noth­ing about how we will do it. In the end it is all about “more.”

It would, or should, seem ob­vi­ous to most of us that the most im­por­tant ob­jec­tive of small ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties is pre­serv­ing what makes them spe­cial. That does not mean stag­na­tion. It means know­ing what we want most and work­ing to­wards that goal. If we want Liver­pool to be­come a small city plan for it and do it. If we want small town at­mos­phere we might want to keep what we have and not sell it down the river to smooth talk­ing snake oil sales­men. Be­lieve it or not, mak­ing a small com­mu­nity larger does not make it bet­ter if small is what you want. You can, how­ever, make a small town bet­ter with vi­sion and careful plan­ning. So ask your favourite can­di­date about his vi­sion for Queens and see if it fits your de­sires. Growth is not a panacea for all life’s ills. Small com­mu­ni­ties em­brace growth at the risk of be­com­ing – per­ish the thought – big.

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