Yes. Why DOES the Parkway keep coming back on the civic agenda?

TV debate examines why The Parkway keeps coming back
after the people say “No”

The New CHEX Daily TV show introduced a new segment on Tuesday (the 8th) when Donald Fraser (@small_print) joined the team for the first appearance of a regular spot called “Daily Debate”. The segment will examine controversial topics in Peterborough and, hopefully, actually have debate between people. For his first appearance Donald chose one of the most controversial topics in Peterborough ever: yes, you guessed, The Parkway.

Donald didn’t even get to open the discussion on the topic when co-host Michelle Ferreri mentioned that her co-host, Mike Judson, who wasn’t even a Peterborough boy, thought the Parkway was a non-issue. She then hit the nail right on the head with her opening question: “I thought this Parkway issue was dead. Why are we talking about this again?”

Yes, why ARE we talking about this again?

Well, it would appear certain elements at City Hall just can’t listen to the will of the people and, one way or another, keep putting the Parkway back on the planning agenda.

Donald responded by outlining a short history of opposition to the Parkway. He noted the 1991 municipal election where the Parkway was a big topic. In that election, Jack Doris (who is still on council) ran for Mayor on a platform that opposed the Parkway. He won the hotly contested election, largely due to his opposition to the Parkway. People 1 – Parkway 0.

Slightly over a decade later and the Parkway again rears its ugly head. Once again people have to rally and campaign against those who want the Parkway. The 2003 “No Parkway” campaign reaches many ears and 55% of those voting in a referendum on the subject vote “No”. People 2 – Parkway 0.

But those who want the Parkway were not deterred. They cite that the referendum wasn’t binding because not enough people voted (a near impossible thing to achieve in municipal referendums). With a procedural sleight-of-hand they point out it wasn’t the Parkway they were voting against, but a modified version of it. So the referendum didn’t count (as did the opinions of the majority who voted “No”, we guess).

Donald then talked about how, using the new hospital as an excuse, the idea of paving over the Parkway corridor is raised yet again. Only this time it is all about servicing the hospital (really, who could be against that?). Again, host Ferreri gets it bang on target with her statement, “They’re building the Parkway without really…saying they’re building the Parkway”. Donald responds, “You’re right, it is kind of sneaky”.

We call it “The Parkway by Stealth”

And we think it stinks. It is allowing a small group of people, who never seem to quite identify themselves openly, push this mega project back onto the front burner again and again. All this when, again and again, when actually asked to vote on it, the people say, “No Parkway”.

Of course, this time it is back, bigger than ever, with a plan to ultimately create a four lane road from the Zoo to the existing Parkway including a bridge through the heart of Jackson Park.

And City Council appears to be in a mad rush to approve the recommendations of the engineering consultants with minimal public consultation.

We think the people of Peterborough deserve better than this.

They deserve the sorts of things Donald mentions at conclusion of his discussion when he talks of the value of greenspace and its clear connection to quality of life. The sort of quality of life we need if we are to attract doctors and other professionals we desperately want to move to Peterborough. The sort of Peterborough we have come to know and love.

Here is the show. Parkway segment starts at 5:52.

Watch and ask yourself, “Why are we here again”?

Peterborough, it’s a natural! Let’s keep it that way – green, natural, and beautiful.

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