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I want to write something polite and respectful to the town council of Port Hawkesbury.

I want to write about how despite some bad proposals, the town really has been trying. I can’t. The town has been in rapid decline. I guess you could say that now there’s a great playground for kids and the town really has been looking up – you even got a free Airmiles concert! Wait, those things weren’t provided fully by the town, if at all? Well then.

I’m only 22-years-old so you’ll probably ignore my opinion entirely. You won’t care that I’ve been studying politics for the past three years. You won’t care that my insight has been cool and calculated and quietly repressed for years. Fine. But, you should care that you’re essentially pushing away businesses, and you’re pushing away consumers too.

Here’s the thing. I grew up 10 minutes from the town. While the town is where my essential services were offered (same for many in Richmond County), I will never be able to vote within your walls. After-all, it’s not really my town. Your decisions impact thousands in the area. Your decisions, made by a small voting population are essentially smacking tourists and residents alike in the face.

Most recently the proposed vendor by-law has come into question. You wish to make it fair that a mobile vendor doesn’t have to pay for lights, electricity, and location. Do you think that vendor trucks manifest over night? I will not disclose the cost because that’s none of your business, but honestly, the truck was not free. Gas is not free. Running the equipment is not free. However, your whining is absolutely priceless. The mayor alone owns several properties and council owns properties. Whether or not you leave for conflict-of-interest, the direct impact that you claim is happening, is to you.

Canada is a democratic country with a free market. Whether you like it or not. Your imposition of large fees is trying to cripple small business vendors. Safety? Really? You’re worried about the safety of persons going to flea markets? How about you fix the unsafe roads. Or, perhaps you should spend money developing safer locations. No, you’re busy whining.

I no longer live in the area. I moved to Fredericton because I value choice. The type of choices that new vendors bring to your area. Stores cannot thrive in Port Hawkesbury. Ask any business that put up shop in the mall and then left mere months later. There are no movie theatres, shoe stores, book stores, or novelty shops. Port Hawkesbury is a void market that has been crippled by a council that does not wish to see development. I fear that the safety you are imposing is a safety from progress.

As a 22-year-old, I cannot see myself living in the area. There are no job opportunities. There are no successful opportunities. There is no room to grow. There is no movement to change this either. If you truly want Port Hawkesbury to succeed, you need to quit. Seriously.

If you value free choices, free economy and a town that has a chance, go to the council meeting on October 4. Tell the town you’re sick of their bully tactics. Tell them you’re sick of their opinion dictating decisions that should be founded in logic.

Shaylynn Hayes
Fredericton, New Brunswick