My two young children, who love animals, will be very disappointed if the petting zoo does not return to Queen’s Park. I am struggling to understand why mayor and council would make such a decision.
If, according to a staff report, retaining the petting zoo was supported by “most of the people who provided input” into a plan for the park, why would our city ignore this?
And why are mayor and council also ignoring feedback at the city’s online discussion forum - virtually all of which is against closing the petting zoo.
The mayor indicates there had been concerns raised by unnamed “animal welfare groups,” but I find it hard to believe that such groups would wish to remove an opportunity for children to develop empathy for animals. If animal welfare is truly a concern, there should be a discussion about making the space more beneficial for the animals - not just shutting it down.
The mayor also suggests the space should be used to address “environmental issues” and help the public “think about how we do farming in the community.”
What’s wrong with the unused front lawn of city hall, which already has a community garden on one small part of it?
Furthermore, if mayor and council really care so much about “environmental issues,” maybe they should go and talk to some of our city’s 10 percenters, with their posh houses and plus-sized trucks and SUVs - often three or more per household. Or maybe they should stop approving all sorts of ecologically un-friendly highrise construction, or put more effort into maintaining public infrastructure rather than letting it fall apart, or bring back our recycling depot.
Children from working class families already live with a relatively small ecological footprint by default, and don’t need their petting zoo converted to a “sustainability” preaching zone.
All children in New Westminster - not just the ones whose rich parents can afford to keep pets - deserve healthy opportunities to interact with and develop empathy for other living creatures. The City of New Westminster needs to keep the petting zoo in Queen’s Park.
Patrick Parkes, New Westminster