The ruff get going

The front page of Friday
The front page of Friday's National Post has created a bit of a buzz in Nelson.
— image credit: Bob Hall photo

Seeing your name in print can be shocking. When the words on the page are not flattering, it can be disturbing.

Nelson once again received big-time ink on Friday. This time we landed on the front page of the National Post. In a story headlined “Going gets ruff for BC town’s dog ban,” freelancer Elizabeth Hames takes on the struggles this community has had with canines in our core. It’s not the glowing piece we’ve come to expect.

When larger media dive into issues in smaller locales like Nelson, there’s a tendency to simplify and intensify reality. The day-to-day debates in our community might not be as prime-time ready otherwise.

Hames’ account of what is going on with the downtown dog bylaw is a classic example. When those who understand the history and the depth of this issue plow through the 1,000 words, there are certainly holes. Some of the facts like “Nelson may be the only one [Canadian city] to outright ban dogs from its downtown” are sloppy because our Kootenay neighbours in Rossland have a very similar restriction.

The reaction to the article so far has been mixed. Some are angry, some agree. Many are talking about it.

Once the initial shock and anger wear off, this clipping will simply be another item in the significant scrapbook of media coverage — both positive and negative — this community has compiled over the years. No real damage will have been done.

What shouldn’t fade from memory is the issue that put Nelson on the National Post front page: dogs in the downtown. It’s time for council to make this a priority in its review of bylaws. Put it at the top of the stack before the snow melts and the spring tourism season begins.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out obvious flaws we live with every day. If this is the outcome of Hames’ article, then we owe her our gratitude.



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