Twice now I have seen projects for Red Deer city nixed because angry residents don't want their perfect, serene neighbourhoods to be marred by possible change - shudder.
Six months ago it was a French School being set up in the Anders area. Residents kicked up a huge fuss and filled the City Hall with exasperated residents.
So why were residents upset?
Because many of their kids couldn't go to a French School.
Because a few high school students might actually be driving to the school.
Because they don't like French people.
Other reasons, whether real or perceived, were brought up by irate residents who stirred the pot and got councillors and the mayor to back down...
The hard workers at city hall, the school board, and many others who worked countless hours to set up the French school to both attract Francophone families to Red Deer, and provide a strong education for Francophone background students already living here - got pushed aside because a few neighbours thought their neighbourhood might be marred by - God forbid - Education.
The Taliban would be proud.
More recently there was a low-income housing initiative that a similar amount of work went into that got nixed because residents were upset. Why were resident upset?
Because they don't want crime to increase in their neighbourhood.
Because they paid a lot of money to live in a middle class neighbourhood.
Because they don't like native people.
Because they don't like poor people.
City councillors listened to their arguments and, of course, backed down again.
So someone else will have to take on the low income housing initiative and a French School. Another part of Red Deer will have to be rezoned at great planning and expense because Clearview and Anders wouldn't let progressive movements into their serene neighbourhoods.
If I was a councillor - The next dozen high-risk youth shelters would be pegged for Clearview.
The next high-risk half way house for pedophiles would be put somewhere that there wasn't a school nearby for them to reoffend. Hrmm, how about Anders!
I'd sooner take a French School than a single high-risk youth shelter any day.
I'd sooner take my chances on struggling families in low income housing than have a pedophile half-way house next door.
Disgruntled residents of Anders and Clearview - you may have won a battle, but like a spoiled kid who gets whatever it wants - you're on the naughty list now. Santa's procurements from future mayors and councillors could be something much worse than education and a charitable housing initiative. Next time, you might not have a say in the matter.