It may be reasonable to run for political office on a campaign of Not In My Backyard, but there’s something untoward about an unspoken campaign of Not In Your Backyard, Either.
At best, District of North Vancouver’s recent pigeon ban is a zero sum decision in which one resident was hurt and another, Coun. Betty Forbes, was helped.
We may never understand why Forbes looked at her neighbour’s hobby and saw a political hobby horse. However, we are owed a greater explanation than the two-minute, content-light speech she offered Monday. Forbes, who once authored a 1,400-word letter on the issue of backyard birds, requested “additional training” regarding conflicts of interest. It is worrisome that two previous training sessions weren’t sufficient to clarify a simple rule: if it feels good, don’t do it.
Because even if the pigeon bylaw is better than the mean-spirited, arbitrary legislation it appears to be, the multiple back-channel communications leading up to the ban suggest this was the pettiest of pet issues.
We’d also note that the district is missing both a housing partner on the Delbrook project and an entire generation. There’s a housing crisis, a climate crisis, and North Shore traffic. At a time when we need vision, we have a councillor who seems focused only on her view.
Barring a sudden attack of common sense from council, one resident’s pets will soon be gone. The neighbours and what’s left of the neighbourhood will remain.
We may not share or even comprehend the passions of our neighbours, but it’s imperative we offer empathy, even without understanding. Because the truth is that, beyond our fences, there’s only one backyard. We all need to share it.
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