Car Free Sunday helps to regain sense of community
This letter is in response to Chris Elliston and others who are wondering what the “point” was to Car Free Sunday.
According to the imaginecomoxvalley.ca website, Car Free Sundays are designed to be fun and entertaining, promote neighbourly interaction, celebrate local businesses, inspire creativity in those who chose to get involved”. These events are held in hundreds of cities around the world.
Chris Elliston asserts, “The roads are there to drive on. That was the reason they were built.”
In fact, the reason roads were built was as a means to communicate, and for ease of buying, selling and transporting goods. Roads were built as a necessity.
Certainly roads are still used for those purposes, but we also use roads for convenience. We jump in our cars to perform a multitude of tasks, from visiting the corner store a five-minute walk away, to driving our kids to school. It is arguable whether many of the uses of roads are truly “necessities.”
Could it be we determine roads are necessary because we are busier than any other generation before us? We go full tilt from morning to night, motoring from one event to the next, shuttling our over-scheduled kids from activity to activity. I know I am guilty of this!
This lifestyle is killing our sense of community. We seldom interact with our neighbours, or explore what our neighbourhoods have to offer.
The sad reality is that as a society, we have lost our sense of what community is all about. What happened to neighbourhood potlucks, work parties, a game of “scrub.”
As someone who has worked with youth and families for over 15 years, I know that one of the biggest factors in prevention of high-risk activity for youth is a sense of belonging and a connection to community. In the absence of healthy connection with positive adult role models, youth turn to whoever is available.
Our elders benefit from having a sense of community as well. Intergenerational events that foster creativity, fun, and communication help to break down barriers and the generation gap.
The Car Free Sunday organizers are on the right track. I admire them for taking on this organizational feat, and for enduring the negativity of the naysayers. This event brings us a step closer to a healthier community for all citizens.