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"Prisoners' hockey team, Directorate of Internment Operations, Camp 132, Medicine Hat, Alberta, February 25, 1946 / Équipe de hockey composée de prisonniers, Direction des opérations d’internement, camp 132, Medicine Hat (Alberta), le 25 février 1946" by BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Letter to the Editor: It’s time to take back Peterborough ... somehow?

Written by
Alexia Kambanis
and
December 4, 2020
Letter to the Editor: It’s time to take back Peterborough ... somehow?
"Prisoners' hockey team, Directorate of Internment Operations, Camp 132, Medicine Hat, Alberta, February 25, 1946 / Équipe de hockey composée de prisonniers, Direction des opérations d’internement, camp 132, Medicine Hat (Alberta), le 25 février 1946" by BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Dearest Editors,

Here is my response to a letter to the editor published in The Peterborough Examiner, entitled “Enough is enough, it’s time to take back Peterborough”.

“Our grassroots organization, Take Back Peterborough, has formed to provide a clear message to Mayor Diane Therrien and Peterborough city council.”

OK, this is a great start! Do your civic duty—if you have a problem, you should bring it up with your city councillors.

“Many of our citizens are frustrated with exorbitant residential taxes, deteriorating infrastructure and lack of progress on a vision for this city that will serve to inspire our youth and generations to come.”

I can definitely see that Peterborough’s infrastructure can be lacking in some areas, and changes from politicians can feel like they move at a glacial pace.

“Our message is clear: We have had enough!”

Wow, how assertive! So what are your demands?

“Peterborough is in desperate need of a new modern multi-use recreational complex that will serve as a cornerstone in our community. A foundation to build our community’s social and economic health, using sport and recreation to enhance our children’s confidence, establish our community’s identity, and pump money into our local economy and businesses.”

Wait, what? Taxes are too high and existing infrastructure is not being effectively maintained...so we need to build a new rec centre? Maybe I didn’t read this right, but I don’t see how new construction projects are an effective use of tax funds when there are already existing community and youth centres in Peterborough. Especially when this facility won’t be able to be used until the current pandemic is well and done, whenever that may be.

“We are tired of the excuses. Money and city resources wasted on infrastructure and planning at the Trent University site, government grant applications at the Fleming College site that were destined to fail, with no clear vision or path in sight.”

I don’t think that money is being wasted when it goes towards Peterborough’s postsecondary institutions. Maybe that’s because I’m a student myself, but I think investment in education is a good way to support future generations. Again, funds should be reinvested into existing community resources if you want to do something about “deteriorating infrastructure”.

“We demand change. If you support our vision, please contact your local municipal councilor and sign our petition at change.org/p/peterborough-city-council-take-back-peterborough-new-rec-center-petition. We look forward to standing behind our council in order to build a community that fosters a positive path forward for Peterborough. - Bob McBain, Westman Avenue”

People get really wound up over Change.org petitions, even though there’s no guarantee that city council even will see or respond to them. But it looks like over 1300 people agree with Bob. One commenter on the petition said “Our city needs to get with the times and quit making excuses.” The current times, in which we’re currently experiencing a global pandemic. I can’t help but feel that there are bigger things to be worried about right now.

I also find it a little suspect that this call to grassroots organization and local political action ends with a proposal for a new construction project. Who is Bob? Would he personally benefit from this project? Why should tax money be spent on this project specifically when there are many other aspects of the community that are just as deserving? How will a privately owned rec centre allow Peterborough residents to take ownership of the city they live in? It’s worth asking yourself these questions before you go signing any petitions.

Sincerely,

Alexia Kambanis

Arthur News School of Fish
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