19 March 2012

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Vision Wants to Take Back Naming Rights to Parks

A motion is coming forward to the Park Board on Monday 26 March which will take the naming of parks out of the hands of the community and put it back into the hands of the politicians. This was the method used until 2007 when a new protocol was adopted that put park naming in the hands of the community. I wrote the draft for that policy and was rightly very proud to have put in place a mechanism for real community decision making.

Under the current protocol a committee of community volunteers seeks names from the community for parks and public spaces and then makes a recommendation to the Board. This allows the community to make the decision. Under the new protocol, staff will solicit ideas and then prepare a report to the Commissioners. Then the Commissioners will choose the name. This can lead to political interference and the naming of parks and public spaces after friends and allies of the particular Board of the day with no recourse for the community. The 2007 protocol was created to stop any hint of favouritism and to put the authority in the community.

This is a regressive motion done in the name of expediency. The Staff report says this process takes too long and involves too many steps. This is nonsense. Perhaps the current method takes a bit longer, but it is the way for the community to make the decision. Sometimes democracy takes a little longer. But it is worth it.

No comments:

Post a Comment