by Harmen Boersma
Is NG a united or divided community? Or is it wishy-washy? One week the NG Times reports about the inclusiveness (oneness, unity) under the rainbow flag, the next week it reports “community divided” over an outdoor rink? How can this be understood if community is a place where people live their common life? Rather than asking united or divided should we not consider if trust is gained or trust is lost during the month of June among the participants in community?
The community is made up of many sub-communities organized as institutions, organizations, associations and clubs. This is a more diverse interpretation of community than the one that poses community consists of individuals managed by government. The diverse community has more resilience than the homogenous one. The strength of the diverse community depends largely on trust as the basis of cooperation.
Businesses are invited to market their wares or services, schools are established to teach and train, hospitals are supported to heal, churches gather for worship, universities and colleges offer research for professions and many more. Every resident is involved in multiple ways in community. It has potential to be a flourishing community.
Somehow the rainbow flag does not unite and the outdoor rink does not divide. Why?
The Rainbow Union Dundas Grenville (RUDG) is a very recent organization with a yet unknown agenda for this community. (LGTB members have lived, worked, shopped, participated and contributed to our common lives for some years. Acceptance, no doubt, was hesitant, but most persisted. Good for them!) The whole council and municipal staff jumped on the bandwagon with raising the rainbow/transgender flags and removing the municipal/Ontario flags. They were encouraged by similar action in neighbouring towns.
Granted that LGTB was a suppressed minority 75 years ago, but since it has been given civic ‘liberty’ in 1969 the movement has changed from a suppressed minority to a vocal sub-culture touting a new identity theory or ideology known as genderism. There are nearly as many divisions in this gender as there are letters in the alphabet. (19 so far) Genderism is giving this sub-community loads of energy especially as it is now being condoned by municipal government for an outdated reason. LGTB is now organized and identifiable in these rural communities. It has not united our common life; just boosted their presence in this municipality.
The outdoor rink project has been running for nearly a decade: providing a place for youth to be actively engaged in a popular sport as well as encouraged to take part in the snow clearing under supervision of volunteers.
When the opportunity arose to expand the successful rink facility with a Senator foundation grant, the rink committee aimed at an improved facility for a longer season. Partnering with the municipality had already been outlined with the former council. The municipal application for a substantial Trillium grant would help to make the improved rink a reality and be a boost for the youth in North Grenville and their families.
Council unanimously agreed to pass up the Trillium application request. One council member thanked the presenters for their good works in the community and encouraged them to keep pursuing their goal for an outdoor rink on their own. The demotion of a noble initiative by an established, reputable sub-community is disappointing at least and a missed opportunity for youth of the whole community at best.
Some of the RUDG members claimed that their children would not be safe on a rink built on a property belonging to a church that does not endorse their genderism. How much this statement influenced council member’s decision cannot be measured.
Throughout the presentation it was clear that the rink committee worked at arm’s length with the congregation and the municipality.
What are the options to move forward? The proposed outdoor rink initiative may still happen on a less elaborate scale. Municipal government may round up their recreation planning for the near future but it likely will not include a second outdoor rink. RUDG youth will likely skate on a field pond or indoors at the municipal rink. Each of the three organizations need to take stock of their actions.
Many issues had been considered in this major project for North Grenville – type of facility, location, need, use, maintenance, financing, partnerships and more. Do you agree that it stalled on the test of trust? It is the greatest loss.