“I’m not against the service, but I think there is a better location for it,” Darla Meijer said on Tuesday night at a volatile town-hall meeting in the community of Braeside.
Meijer’s response, along with hundreds of others at the gathering, opposed the operation of a methadone clinic for addiction treatment in a residential area. This community response was met with equivalent dismay from NIMBY detractors across the city.
But Naheed Nenshi of the Better Calgary campaign said that NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) could be both a good and bad thing for a neighbourhood.
“People who are engaged in their community can actually lead to improvement,” said Nenshi, noting factual information is important in leading an informed discussion.
Nenshi cited the West LRT to explain how citizen concerns about the rail in their backyard eventually led to a better design.
Nenshi said the problem with NIMBYism is that it can lead to BANANA — Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody.
“If no neighbourhood is going to take those on, then social problems we end up with are much bigger than the ones we are trying to solve,” he said.
Chloe Atkins, associate professor of law and society at the University of Calgary, said that enough NIMBYism can lead to people being unconstitutional and inhumane.
But she added that NIMBYism does show residents have a vested interest in preserving a high quality of life for everyone.
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