What will Queens make of the municipal election?
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.