Slacktivism has got to end

It was 6:00 pm last night as I was driving home from the Capital News center. At the CNC, the City of Kelowna was hosting an open house information session for a public referendum (or more correctly ‘AAP’) on the construction of a major road project known as South Perimeter Road. Let me level with you, as a Glenmore guy I really don’t care that much about the South Mission as it doesn’t affect my day to day that much (except at property tax time!). But I also know something, if I am voting, I’m going get informed about the issue or else I don’t vote.

But in an AAP (alternative Approval process), there is no such thing as not voting. If you fill out a ballot vote it’s in objection, if you don’t vote it’s counted as support. That’s right, even when you stay at home eating
HoHos and watching Netflix, you too are participating in democracy. So despite what the politicians say, there is truly is no such thing as a non-voter. But what struck me at the open house was how many of the attendees with an interest in their community were still talking about the Westcorp Hotel approval from a couple weeks ago and it wasn’t flattering. Almost unanimous disapproval! Now I was one of the 4 speakers at the city hall meeting that spoke in opposition to the project. I spoke up because I was impressed with staff’s analysis of the project. They recommended non-support and it was easy to see why.

I saw the developer’s application as an attack of my communities Downtown Plan that we worked hard to define many years ago. As much as I think plans need to be updated, the downtown plan is not an archaic blueprint from yesteryear. It is a document of our community’s values of what are city should like. When the application got the green light it was indeed a sad day for city staff and urbanists hacks like myself. But what I can’t understand is why I had to stand alone against a room of 100+ of the developer’s bagman when there are so many people in objection to the project and deep down I know the answer. They don’t care as much as
I do, or perhaps they care as much, but are sick of it all.

Well, as much as I sympathize with those cynics beaten down by the world, it’s not an excuse. If you are smart enough to have a reasonable opinion, and you think it’s important enough to talk about weeks after the fact while I’m struggling to learn about a road in the mission, then you have a duty to share it with the world. Not just me. If you don’t you are a slacktivist. The kind of person who throws a ‘like’ to a Facebook page or posts a
comment on a forum and thinks they have done their bit.

Mission accomplished right? Honesty, I don’t understand people like this. If you don’t see the importance of making sure majority opinion gets represented as such at one of year’s most important public meetings,
then please stop chatting my ear of about how the city doesn’t respect OCP. If you want them to respect it, stand up for it!

Kelly Hut

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