Urbanism
November 4, 2019

Dare to Share: Admit You’ve Changed your Mind

Here’s a guest post from friend-of-the-blog Peter Ladner:

I recently got my most retweets ever, for agreeing with Patrick Condon and Scott Hein’s call in The Tyee to convert half the land in the City of Vancouver’s municipal golf courses into much-needed housing, and turn the other half into real parks.

Mmm, that warm feeling of people flooding in to agree with me! Like! Like! Like!

Then I read the pushback comments. Then I changed my mind.

I now agree with those who say we need to save the golf-course green space, that we have plenty of other space for more housing all over town in the single-family zones. I realized part of my enthusiasm for the golf course conversion was the prospect of converting those golf greens into more accessible and varied public parks.

I mention this because “changing minds” (advocacy, campaigning, rallying, persuading, writing op-eds, sloganeering…) is such a large part of what so many of us do these days. But it’s all push and no followup. Outing and celebrating our own mind changes is seldom practised. It’s not easy to do. But only we can do it.

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Kudos to City of Vancouver Councillor Pete Fry for bringing forward a motion banning personal fireworks in the city. This is after Councillor Fry’s  successful motion for 30 km/h speed regulations for neighbourhoods which was recently passed at the last Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference.

Vancouver does a double speak when the City talks about green goals and sustainability but still hosts and promotes fireworks sales in October and a  huge fireworks festival every summer.  I have written before about “big bang” fireworks events being  pretty last century, with emissions, noise and disturbance to wildlife in Stanley Park not to mention the impact on pets and people with noise sensitivities or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

That big summer fireworks festival used to be hosted by a tobacco company and now gets sponsored by automobile companies. It’s a great party for everyone. But there are alternatives~in Colorado, Arizona and California  dazzling drone light shows  are choreographed. The cost is in the $15,000 to $25,000 range, comparable to big bang fireworks, and loud music is played to establish the ambiance. The tradeoff, beside less disturbance to wildlife, is proactively preventing what could be the next grass or forest fire.

Councillor Fry’s motion does exempt fireworks displays for public events, and will require fire permits from the City to  “ignite, explode, set off or detonate display fireworks.”

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