Karen Hirst – August 9th 2016

Good Evening. My name is Karen Hirst and my husband Ken & I reside on Gale Street. Thank you for the opportunity to speak this evening on what I believe gets to ‘ the heart of the matter ‘ as to whether or not, as a community,  we would want to sell Don Maynard Park and the land referred to as Block 42.

Author Robert C. Sibley writes that a geographer called Tuan

….. ” contrasts place with space . The latter ( space ) is an open arena for moving and acting. The former ( place ) is about pausing and reflecting.” As an example…”space is subject to economic rationalism (think real estate market)  place is all about belonging and relating.

I believe Don Maynard Park is a place.

The Park is a place of natural beauty, not an vacant space on a topographical map, inviting a housing development.

It is a place that connects a very specific neighborhood, forming a common bond of relationship to a specific location within the town and with a specific group of people.

The Don Maynard Park is a place of green grass under the umbrella of an open sky. Doted with a variety of maturing trees, shrubs and bushes and embellished by a couple of community maintained flower gardens the park invites one to stroll,  to pause and imbibe a moment of silence or listen to the laughter and energy of the school children beyond the separating hedge. The Park holds a melody of bird song and the rustling sound of small critters dashing to the safety of cover. The park leaves you feeling good, feeling neighborly, feeling open to creatively and positively participating in the needs of the community beyond the neighborhood—-you want to be a part of what you feel engaged with on a personal level.

Let’s look for a minute to what John O’Donohue writes about Beauty….

” The blindness of property development creates rooms, buildings and suburbs which lack grace and mystery. Socially , this influences the atmosphere in the workplace, the schoolroom, the boardroom and the community. It also results in such degradation of the environment that we are turning more and more of our beautiful earth into a wasteland. Much of the stress and emptiness that haunts us can be traced back to our lack of attention to beauty. Internally, the mind becomes coarse and dull if it remains unvisited by images and thoughts which hold the radiance of beauty……….This is particularly evident in the spread of greed…….Greed is unable to envisage any form of relationship other than absorption or possession…….. Because our present habit of mind is governed by the calculus of consumerism and busyness, we are less and less frequently available to the exuberance of beauty……. the Beautiful offers us an invitation to order, coherence and unity. When these needs are met, the soul feels at home in the world.”

It is my belief that Don Maynard Park is a place of beauty—to sell this park or any park is to sell off a piece of the soul of its neighborhood and to put dollar before the emotional, psychological and spiritual health of the community.

In conclusion I can only restate what I have said on other occasions—-this Place has a name and that name is Don Maynard Park and the place and the name are synonymous now that they have been historically connected. When you walk through your home town community, wherever that may be, you know that the house on the corner of ‘A’ street is always and forever referred to as the “Smith house”, doesn’t much matter that several different occupants have resided there, it is forever the ” Smith house” ——connectedness, familiarity, comfort, stability, bonds that bind us together.

We all, each and every one of us walk in the steps of those who preceded us and we give honour to that relationship and their legacy by being respectful of the Place that bears the Name.

Thank You

Karen Hirst