Go ahead, trash us

Or make your quick buck. And slam the police while you’re doing it. You already know the police along with all sorts of other people will be there to help you when you need it.

When it comes to the situation involving our downtown nightlife, we’ve heard a lot about what basically amounts to merchants needing some pee management. But what about what it means for police, our emergency services, ER staff, addictions professionals?

When it comes to making a buck off of an unnerving number of intoxicated young adults gathered downtown, so long as you can make buck or two (!) off of it, nevermind the risks inherent in it all for the police, the paramedics, the hospital staff who have to contend with it. It’s their job, right? It’s what they get paid for, right?

Well, hang on.

Of course it goes with the job, and they are going to respond to whatever comes their way. They’ll do what is necessary. That’s not just what they do, it’s who they are, as professionals. But what about the rest of us? What are we doing about it?

I’ve noticed a few of us are speaking out about the pee and the barf and the property damage, and the fatigue, if you will, over this being a problem that we have yet to turn the curve on. In the downtown but in our neighborhoods as well.

And… I’ve noticed some of us are taking pot-shots at the police for renewing their approach to this situation. With budget time rolling out, apparently it’s about the police scoring political points, justifying their roles. Defending their budget.

That doesn’t sit well with me, knowing full well of course that if you are one of those people suggesting that, you won’t be pulling on latex gloves to assist the police — or the paramedics or the ER staff. And if you happen to be someone who has made a buck off of that whole situation, you likely won’t be helping any number of people who have to clean up some mess from a problem that you have somehow profited from. So long as there is money in it for you, what is the problem, right? It goes with Guelph being a university town, right? It’s inevitable!


Time for expectations to settle in about what it is to be a part of this community, whether you are a first-year undergrad or a bar operator, along with some meaningful accountability. Guelph is strong for volunteerism, with individuals giving their time and energy and expertise in any number of ways, more often than not behind the scenes to make this community a better place. For the here and now, but also for the future.

Which speaks to how much the people who make up our community care about it.

And, that it comes from values that suggests there are deeper things to life than money.

And, how unwelcome it is to have someone being party to us getting dragged down. Making money at it, even.

So, to those who are essentially advocating for the status quo — at one and the same time, a status quo seemingly inevitable, enviable and exaggerated in how it is being portrayed — you are missing something here. The community actually wants something more than the situation that we seem to be stuck in when it comes to this aspect of living in this city.

But that we are stuck is not to say there hasn’t been work to get us unstuck, towards getting to something that mirrors who we are and the best of who and what we envision for ourselves. And to the extent bar operators have supported that, credit is due.

I’m calling bullcrap on the arguments from a few corners that seem to be mostly about redirecting the discussion on this back on what motives the police may have or in trying to portray this as a non-problem with limited impact for residents, geographically. I wouldn’t consider the area impacted as small, I wouldn’t even consider what they consider to be the area impacted as small, and at any rate there is silence about what real recourse you have if you live or own a business within it.

And of course, apparently the complaints are mostly based in the fragile sensibilities of a few.



Catch ernie’s post on this matter. His comment on 59 Carden (August 29, 2012, 4:51 p.m. nailed it!)

About Craig Chamberlain

Ward 3 Guelph resident, dad and step-dad.
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