Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Stagnant Statues

Back in December, I wrote about a statue project being proposed in Kitchener. Kitchener city council vetoed the plan on Monday night, after seeing the results of an online public opinion poll that ripped the project to shreds.

There are so many reasons cited for why people don't like the project, from the monetary cost to the dubious history of some of our former leaders and the location (both in the park and near The Luggage Project).


I was a not-so-quiet opponent of the project, both in regards to the subject matter and the placement.

Since Monday's vote, Kitchener has been lambasted by people saying the vote was shortsighted. Mayor Carl Zehr expressed his disappointment and the National Post covered the story a few times. I think Kitchener Council was right in voting no based on what the proposal was, and that the proposal itself was the problem.

As a citizen, when I heard of this project I heard, "This is what we want to give the city. This is exactly where it is going to go and this is what it will cost and all you have to do is say yes and allow us to go ahead." Herein lies the problem. Not once did we hear about other possible locations for the statue, we were given an ultimatum of sorts and it sat heavily in the pits of our stomachs.

Would public opinion have been different if the proposal had been to put the statues scattered throughout the park or throughout the city or in a different location, like McLennan Park or out at Woodside? I think so. While I'm still not crazy about the idea of Prime Minister statues for several reasons, I think my opinion would have been significantly altered had the proposal called for the statues to be placed throughout the park. The placement of this project is key and as a regular park goer, I didn't want to see that open space marred in any way.

We still may see statues in Waterloo Region, the organizers approached media today to say that several other locations are interested in the project although of course, none in Kitchener. I'm happy my council said no to statues as the proposal came forward but in the same respect, I wouldn't have been mad if they had wanted to continue to talk about the subject and discuss alternative locations.

Hey, if Waterloo wants to host those statues, all the power to them. I may even go visit them once. I just hope they make an informed choice on where and how to place them and don't eliminate a valuable open field space to do so.

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