Only In My Back Yard: A different double standard at City Hall

I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that the city is fighting over a baseball diamond, but here we are. Little leaguers in Orleans wanted to build a second, kid-sized diamond at Heritage Park. However, it’s also an off-leash dog park, and the two uses couldn’t co-exist. Local councillor Jody Mitic sided with the doggos and got the city to kill the diamond.

I don’t know enough about the park to weigh on in the specific issue (though, in general, I side with kids over dog-owners), but something about Mitic’s stance was striking.

Mitic is quoted by the Citizen’s Jon Willing as saying, “It’s something the community absolutely does not want.”

There’s an online petition against it, and a bunch of residents are upset. (Though I would have assumed that people within the league were part of the community, too, but anyway…)

This is an interesting standard for Mitic to trot out. If you’ve been following this blog, you know about the developed planned for 890-900* Bank Street. The development company (decidedly not part of the community) wanted to build higher than zoning allowed. The community pushed back.

There was near-unanimity within the community. Feedback was strongly against this. The local councillor, David Chernushenko, was against it. Council approved it, nonetheless. Mitic voted in favour.

I’m not trying to re-litigate the planning decision. Nor am I looking to debate the dog park. Hell, I’m not even trying to pick on Mitic, specifically.

No, my problem is with councillors who have double-standards. We see this all the time (and I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while). They care about issues when they crop up in their ward, but don’t care much at all when it’s another ward.

Or take street safety. Have you heard about how councillors in sububan and rural wards are very concerned about speeding and safety? It’s all very sincere, until we’re talking about having safer, slower streets inside the greenbelt–say Main Street or Elgin. Bank Street is a traditional main street, but it also has to be an arterial, and we’re not going to take any concrete steps to keep people to the speed limit.

This is sort of the corollary to NIMBY-ism. It’s an Only-In-My-Back-Yard situation. Only In My Back Yard will I worry about traffic safety. Only In My Back Yard will I protect zoning regulations. Only In My Back Yard will I consider the wishes of the community. Only In My Back Yard do residents matter.

This isn’t about a baseball diamond or a retirement home or a lower speed limit. This is about treating all neighbourhoods and all residents fairly (which we really don’t). This is about having consideration for the safety, comfort and basic value of everyone in this city.

Not just the people in your back yard.

*Or something like that. I’m too lazy to double-check right now.

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