There’s a long-standing joke among opinion-shapers that, on a slow day, all you have to do is mention one of the following if you want to get a heap of reaction: abortion, gun control, the sex trade or taxes.
Bringing it closer to home, you could, on said slow day, simply utter the word “Ajax.” Or, lately, “pesticides.” Or, less recently, “parkade.”
Pesticides are on today’s City council agenda. So are conflict-of-interest guidelines for councillors (usually good grist for the coffee klatch) and forming a committee to look into a new performing arts centre (which should bring the usual allegations of wasting tax dollars).
Sometimes, long-dormant issues resurrect themselves just by their mere mention. Abortion is once again up for discussion since a Daily News reader expressed an opinion against it in a letter to the editor last week.
It’s one of those questions that seems to have been answered through general consent but remains just below the surface waiting for an opportunity to rise again.
It will never go away completely, nor will gun control. And pornography, prostitution and taxes continue to be nurtured with an almost daily feeding of media headlines.
Some of the words and topics that press people’s hot buttons change with time. In Kamloops, there have been many, and it seemed each time as though there would never be another that would loom so large.
In the 1960s, it was all about Kamloops and North Kamloops. Although they merged during that decade, the question of whether the North Shore is getting a fair share of public investment remains in the minds of some who live there.
Our own version of the North-South civil war was eclipsed, ever so slightly, by the North-South-East-West battle that was resolved only when the provincial government forced the amalgamation of Kamloops (which, by that time, included North Kamloops), Valleyview, Brocklehurst and Dufferin, plus Westsyde (which was talking at the time of becoming its own municipality) in the early ‘70s.
Nobody talks now about a civic convention centre, but during the ‘90s it was a major bone of contention. The debate centered around spending tax dollars to build it versus the overall economic good that would be derived.
It was, as we know, shelved. As was the contentious plan to allow construction of a hotel on the waterfront — twice.
Speaking of water, is the debate over mandatory universal water metering really and truly dead?
And who can ever forget the ruckus over construction of what would later become the Interior Savings Centre? Or, before that, the referendum for a Riverside Park complex that would have included an arena, science centre and other amenities (it went down to defeat when North Shore voters came out against it in a referendum).
Each and every time, it seemed as though the community would be forever divided. Indeed, the wounds from some of them have been slow to heal.
What’s next? Ajax, of course, is a given — one that will endure whether or not it’s built. Downtown parking is poised to make a comeback. And talk of the much-needed performing arts centre is certain to accelerate in the next couple of years.
There will never be a time, I think, when there’s not a big issue to divide opinions in River City.