Just this week an example of how much politics has changed emerged from the ether of the Internet to the bowels of the Council Chamber in Cobourg.
As explained in a previous post a suggestion was made by the Town Staff person in charge of Community assets, to close the Centennial Pool on Charles St. This is an outdoor pool that has been deemed as ready for renovation or replacement.
Then along came a concerned Citizen. Meghan Thomas started an online petition obviously not knowing the impact or effect. Nobody knows these things when starting a petition. It must have struck a nerve because within hours over a thousand people had signed it. Not in the traditional sense of a paper people collected petition but a cyberspace one. Asking people to click on a website is much easier, for both the collector and the signee. As the petition grew larger the more concerned Council was about it. In the age old tradition of “shooting the messenger” one Cllr tried to dismiss the petition because “50% of the people who signed were not Cobourg residents”. Who cares they are users and pay the admission fees.
But back to the way politics will be changed by this instant display of participatory democracy. With emails replacing letters and websites dedicated to instant response the local Pols better be aware of just what is going on.
What’s next? I fear that the Council in it’s desire to bury this topic will defer the suggestion to close the pool. However without a comprehensive discussion of how important the pool is to the Citizens that decision is just “cowardice in the face of the enemy”. Cobourg needs to decide now whether a pool is important to them. If it is then a renovation programme must be implemented or we just fill it in for more parking.
We elected people to be imaginative – well Council get imaginative and design a fundraising programme for a new pool. Cutting the budget is easy, building things is much harder!