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Kids lose again

The urban wilderness park slated to become a bus terminal in Dartmouth was doomed from the get- go. Do you imagine city council would have reclaimed the park if it had a fountain, flower beds and was graced with a stony statue of Joseph Howe? Without those accoutrements, an urban wilderness park is just code for “vacant lot.” It’s sad.

But it’s really the local children who lose. The wilderness is the true habitat of children, and this most ancient of playgrounds is being stolen out from under them by urbanization and poor city planning.

As a child, my friends and I were creek-dwellers roaming the snarled paths that wove their way along the wooded stream that ran through the centre of our town. In a world built and bound about by adults and their authority, our creekside urban wilderness was our sanctuary.

We could play, laugh and hide here, meet danger and darkness, learn stealth and evasion, encounter deep silence, the loneliness of wind and march to a drum whose tempo and rhythm originated far from the sanitized milieu of playdates and birthday parties.

If the previous sentence sounds foolish or esoteric to you, you probably won’t bemoan the loss of another wild green space in the city. I’m so thankful for my creek-dwelling years and I wonder how the kids who live near that park will feel the day the dozers move into their sacred habitat, to make way for the ever encroaching pavement of the public good.

Roy F. Ellis, Halifax

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