Opinion

All eyes on Car Free Sunday in Comox Valley

Getting anything new rolling can be a challenge, as organizers make first-time mistakes while trying to get people to buy into what they’re doing.

Such is the case with Car Free Sunday in Courtenay and Cumberland, but not in Comox.

The issue of temporarily banning cars at large from areas in or near downtown has long been accepted in this area. For example, it happens annually in Courtenay for Canada Day celebrations, in Comox for the Nautical Days parade and in Cumberland for the Empire Days parade.

Those closures allow events to happen, which seems to be different to some people from when banning motorized vehicles is the point.

Some of us, tapping a well of discontent about cyclists taking over the roads, condemn car-free events on that basis. A drivers’ sense of entitlement might also be a factor.

The objection of downtown Comox businesspeople appears to be more a matter of not being consulted and not having enough time to plan, both of which are fair points.

Let’s face it, Comox Valley businesses don’t need anything else at the moment to discourage customers.

An objection about loss of business would be curious, because Comox Valley car-free events are scheduled for this Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., when most small Comox businesses are closed anyway.

In a news release, Car Free Sunday organizers appeal to people to organize all sorts of fun activities during those four hours, including children’s games, neighborhood parties, yard sales, street theatre, street hockey and music.

Those sorts of things could be a magnet for businesses on an otherwise slow day.

We, and hopefully downtown Comox merchants, will monitor the Cumberland and Courtenay events. Car-free events have become popular elsewhere, and if they get off to a promising start here, everybody will want one next year.

For details and to register your community event in the car-free zones this Sunday, visit www.imaginecomoxvalley.ca.

editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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