The group Save Our Snye is apparently intent on saving the Snye – and for some that means continuing to allow it to be used for the traditional purposes, including motorized watercraft and float planes. These activities, while traditional uses of this part of our waterways, are not necessarily compatible with the redevelopment plans for the downtown core, and so the current plan is to possibly restrict future usage of boats and planes and other motorized craft on the Snye. The funny thing is many of us – including me – also want to save the Snye, but not necessarily for the purposes of motorized recreation. We want to see the Snye preserved as a lovely quiet spot in the middle of the city, a hub for community activity where families can gather and enjoy parks, and sky, and water.
I am concerned by this usage of “our”, because the Snye belongs to all of us. It is indeed OUR Snye, and does not belong to any one group or individual. The future of the Snye should be decided collectively, and in the upcoming election it is sure to be an issue that will arise. At that time we will have the opportunity to vote for those we feel will represent our views on this issue (and many others), and determine the future of our Snye.I am troubled too by the way this issue seems to be dividing along the lines of length of residency. Occasional comments I have seen seem to cast those who are “new residents” as the enemy, with “old residents” being the ones intent on saving the Snye. This troubles me in ways I cannot quite express, as who determines what length of residency counts as new or old? What length of time of residency allows one to speak to the issues in this community or hold an opinion? Does my eleven years give me more rights than another person’s five? Does someone’s twenty give them more rights than my eleven? And in the end if we are talking length of residency then don’t we all need to acknowledge we settlers were preceded by the First Nations peoples? How far exactly do we want to take this discussion? And is dividing it along these lines truly helpful in the long run, building community and creating cohesion? Or does it further distance us from each other, and keep us from recognizing that each and every resident, regardless of length of residency, is entitled to a say in the future of this community?
I suppose the other thing that troubles me is the argument that because someone has always done something is reason for it to continue. That reasoning: “well, we have always done it this way” is no longer good enough – not for this world, this country, or this community. The fact that the Snye has always been used for boating and float planes is not good enough reason for this to continue forever. As this community changes so too will some of the things we hold dear, including places like the Snye. These growing pains are not unusual in a rapidly growing community – and we are feelings the pangs right now. As we go forward we will need to assess all the "well it has always been this way" scenarios, and determine if it still makes sense now, and into the future. If good, solid reasons for preserving the status quo exist and can be presented I am always open to them - but the simple statement "well, it's just how it's always has been" has never carried much weight with me, as if we stuck to that belief we would have never progressed as a society, or civilization.I am sympathetic to those who use the Snye for these activities, and who wish it would continue. And I recognize and respect their right to advocate for preserving that usage, but one should not assume that they are the only ones intent on saving the Snye. There are many others who may not wish to see boats on the Snye, or float planes, but who wish to see the Snye not only survive but thrive. I think in the end we all want to save our Snye – we just may not agree on what purpose we want to save it for. I too want to save our Snye - because it belongs to all of us, and I hope that is never overlooked in this dialogue.