There’s fun and there’s not fun
Fun is usually attended by noise. Laughter, music, singing, cheering, loud talk: they all go hand in hand with having fun.
Over 200 children at the arena can make a lot of noise having fun, as they did last Friday at the JumpStart Games. A large gathering for a block party at Wixen’s Bridge last month featured music and singing all day and evening long. The fireworks at Elgin Park – and at homes around the town – on Canada Day filled the air with bangs, chirps, zips, crackles and whistles. Even a couple of kids playing in the backyard can make a lot of noise.
Not much wrong with that, and it would take a curmudgeon for all times to complain about such noise at those events. But the fun and its attendant noise should not be going on at 2 a.m. on Brock Street.
A couple of weeks ago, a large group of young adults – I counted 20, but there were some I couldn’t see – gathered at the corner of Brock and Church Street at 2 a.m. and engaged in a long, loud gabfest, complete with gales of laughter. Some of the crowd, I noticed, were drinking beer from cans.
After enduring the hubbub for 20 minutes with no sign of an end in sight, I called the North Division of Durham Regional Police and suggested they might want to send a cruiser by just to ask these people to move along. Shortly after I made the call, the group gradually dispersed on its own, but not before I watched one of their number rip out part of Scott Rutledge’s Canada 150 display and carry it off. As for the requested police presence, it never showed.
I have bemoaned the lack of police presence in town numerous times before, to no avail. That lack of officers has led to an undeniable rowdiness seeping into the downtown area, especially on the weekends. One of the most disconcerting factors is the number of souped-up pick-up trucks and cars whose drivers have nothing better to do than continually roar up and down Brock Street, with their engines and exhausts belching out noise at a decibel rate that is painful to the ears. One sees the same vehicles time and again, over and over, as they split the night with their thunder machines, doing nothing but trying to impress everyone by showing what jerks they are.
The township bylaw department has a device that it uses from time to time to make sure the Uxbridge Shooting Sports gun club, located out in the country, doesn’t exceed its dictated decibel level. But that device is never used in town for the benefit of residents who have to put up with the continual roar of trucks piloted by street jockeys.
The Ontario Highway Traffic Act has provisions restricting the amount of noise that can be produced by a vehicle’s exhaust system. A police cruiser fitted with a decibel-reading device would have a busy time keeping up on Brock Street almost any night of the week.
But, apparently, neither the bylaw officers nor the police deign to make themselves available for such duty.
A number of people have told me recently that they don’t feel quite as safe as they used to when walking the downtown streets at night. I won’t say I don’t feel safe, but I do sense a growing discomfort when I venture forth at night, wondering if I’m going to be confronted or harangued by someone.
I realize that most of these teenagers and young adults are just “having fun,” but their fun should not come at the expense of other people’s sense of security. And one’s sense of security is not boosted by the knowledge that, to all intents and purposes, there are no police in town.
It seems to me, as I’ve said before, it’s time this township received the policing it pays for or take back those millions of dollars and start up our own police force.
Tell me, am I wrong?