Sackville Councillor Shawn Mesheau has expressed concern about the town’s re-opening of the natural playground and the beach at Lillas Fawcett Park with plans for student lifeguards to be on duty beginning July 1st.
“On a good day in the summertime, that park is packed full,” Mesheau told his colleagues during Monday’s town council meeting.
“I’m just kind of wondering by offering that type of service this year what type of risk that we might be putting ourselves in as a municipality and to the general public and to our summer students,” he said, adding that the students would have to work within and enforce COVID-19 social-distancing restrictions.
Chief Administrative Officer Jamie Burke replied that the town would do its best to maintain safety, but that residents want it to restore regular services.
He added that student workers would be well prepared for pandemic restrictions and that he had been discussing how to handle things with colleagues in other communities.
“We’re not in the enforcing family business,” Burke said. “We understand there are challenges there, but it’s next to impossible for us to determine who’s related to who and who’s living with who and who’s in whose bubble.”
He said signs would be posted warning people to follow social-distancing rules.
“We’re not looking for our summer students to be enforcement officers,” he said.
“Instead we’re going to ask them to be ambassadors and help spread positive messages amongst the community about the importance to get out, get fresh air [and] the benefits of that for mental health and physical health, and do that as safely as they can.”
Money for hospice
The vote was 5-2 Monday night as town council approved contributing $9,700 to help build a hospice in Moncton that will serve about 120 dying patients in southeastern New Brunswick each year.
Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken along with Councillors Allison Butcher, Andrew Black, Bill Evans and Michael Tower voted in favour while Councillors Joyce O’Neil and Shawn Mesheau voted against. (Councillor Bruce Phinney was absent.)
O’Neil and Mesheau repeated arguments they made at the meeting last week that the money would be better spent to help palliative care patients in Sackville.
Treasurer Michael Beal said the town is hoping to contribute all of the money this year, but the motion council passed gives him discretion to make the donation over three years if the town’s financial picture worsens because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As expected, council also approved spending $16,560 to purchase four shipping containers that will be installed at the new fire department training facility behind the public works building in the Sackville Industrial Park.
Is Councillor Mesheau – or any other councillor, for that matter – concerned about the risk of virus spread due to the various fashionable protests and marches going on downtown these days, complete with bussed-in out-of-town rent-a-crowds?
It seems to me that that is a much more likely vector for contamination than people sitting at the beach, if reasonable distance is maintained (which is not the case during the marches).
Or does being infected with the virus of fashionable ideas provide immunity against COVID-19, just like cowpox provides immunity against smallpox?
I completely disagree with you Marika. I was at the first protest outside the post office on June 3rd and everyone there had a mask on and everyone maintained the appropriate physical distance from each other (unless they were standing with their families). I saw absolutely no evidence of “bussed-in out-of-town rent-a-crowds”.
Do you really feel that protesting against racism is, to use your term, a “fashionable idea”?
There were out-of-towners in for the event. Don’t take it from me. Take it from the CBC:
I quote: “Hafsah Mohammad lives in Moncton but is trying to attend as many events as possible”.
One might be careful, but surely attending a large number of public rallies in varied locations is a way to spread the virus around. Let’s imagine that someone who works at the Drew is also at the rally and gets infected. What was achieved? Is fashionable posturing more important than people’s lives?
Yes, I actually do feel that it’s a “fashionable idea”. That pretty much states it exactly, so I’ll happily stand with the statement.
It’s essentially a non-problem, and a big deal is made out of it. What I’ve found in reality is that even the very occasional real racist encountered will usually warm up to specific individuals in very short order, if they’re otherwise a nice person. I come across such a character every few years, maybe. Just like Stockwell Day said, it’s on par with being the kid with glasses, or with braces, or whatever else. It isn’t a major factor. Interpersonal problems having nothing to do with racism dwarf these by orders of magnitude.
Meanwhile, very serious social problems are totally ignored. This is just a distraction from realities.
Marika, your initial comment “I haven’t seen racism in Sackville, except for anti-white PC claptrap.”, and your following comment “…the various fashionable protests and marches going on downtown these days, complete with bussed-in out-of-town rent-a-crowds” illustrate your ignorance about the serious issue of ongoing racism in the United States and around the world, including here in our small town of Sackville.
I did read the CBC news article that you quoted, and it does not support either of your statements. A young lady driving down from Moncton to share her personal legitimate concerns about racism with the local demonstrators does not equate to “the various fashionable protests and marches going on downtown these days, complete with bussed-in out-of-town rent-a-crowds”. Also in the article another young lady talks about her own personal experiences of having racial slurs yelled at her here in Sackville. This also directly contradicts your contention that there is no racism in Sackville.
Furthermore, your comment about ”anti-white PC claptrap” and your reference to Stockwell Day clearly illustrate your bias and complete lack of understanding of history and current events. Your other comment that “even the very occasional real racist encountered will usually warm up to specific individuals in very short order, if they’re otherwise a nice person”, sounds eerily like Donald Trump’s “very nice people on both sides” comment, and would be laughable if it wasn’t for the tragedy of thousands of people being lynched in the United States simply because of the colour of their skin. This tragedy continues to this day with people of colour being lynched by members of the police forces who are supposed to be there to protect the public, not murder them.
There is however one thing that I do agree with you on – Janet Hammock has no reason to apologize to you for pointing out that “some white people still remain oblivious to the reality of systemic racism” when responding to your insensitive and inflammatory comments.
Thanks! Les, your comments are spot on. I was really apologizing to the world in general for falling into a trap of assuming the writer was white based on what s/he wrote about there being no racism here in Sackville. Since all the non-white persons I know and have known over the years In Sackville have told me that overt racist slurs, drive-by racist call-outs, and racist actions had happened to them in our town, I must admit my assumption was that no non-white person would ever say there was no racism here.