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NIMBY, BANANA, CAVE and other acronyms

Since the races for mayor in both Battleford and North Battleford are over thanks to acclamations for Derek Mahon and Ian Hamilton respectively, I am going to talk about the other campaigns going on elsewhere in the province.

Since the races for mayor in both Battleford and North Battleford are over thanks to acclamations for Derek Mahon and Ian Hamilton respectively, I am going to talk about the other campaigns going on elsewhere in the province.

By far the most interesting one is in Regina, where nine people are running for mayor to replace Pat Fiacco. For those counting, that's one more person than all the candidates for council in Battleford.

A few smart people in my office offered an astute observation as to why so many people are running in Regina. It's because of the stadium issue, they said. Because of the stadium, all the angry people have come out of the woodwork to stop it.


I heard on the radio that of the nine people running for mayor in Regina, only one candidate - councillor Michael Fougere - was for the stadium proposal. I read that at one of the forums, the other candidates were all attacking his stance, with comments ranging from mild negativity to total, enthusiastic opposition to the stadium.

It boggles my mind how civic politics attracts all the people who want to scrap stadium projects or other things that might liven things up in a community.

Look at Saskatoon. Earlier this year, former Saskatoon mayor Henry Dayday launched a campaign to regain his former office. When he was in the race, his big campaign plank was opposing the new "Art Gallery of Saskatchewan." Instead of spending money on that, Dayday wanted taxpayers' money to go to roads and infrastructure.

In the end, Dayday's campaign floundered. He withdrew and endorsed Tom Wolf against mayor Don Atchison. I get the impression the main reason Dayday endorsed Wolf was because he wasn't Atchison.

Saskatoon has already seen enough efforts by anti-progress folks. For years, these opponents fought and delayed the arena that now hosts major concerts and sports events. A few years back, they killed a proposed downtown casino that was later built several kilometers south of the city.

Now it is Regina's turn to be inundated by similar-minded folks. They can be characterized using various familiar acronyms.

One term used frequently is "NIMBY" - Not in My Back Yard.

NIMBY folks basically oppose any project they don't want near their neighborhood. It ranges from things that could pose real issues, like a toxic waste dump, to those far less dangerous like hotels, casinos, condominiums, sports bars and even homeless shelters.

You would think people would endorse opening a shelter so some of our most vulnerable citizens won't be out on the street. Not some of these NIMBY folks! They would oppose a shelter, on the grounds that it might bring social problems into their neighborhood.

Same for sports bars. Why do some NIMBY folks oppose them? Because they don't want inebriated fans making noise in their neighborhood. "Not in my back yard!"

Then you have "BANANA" people. This stands for Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.

These folks go beyond what NIMBY folks call for and oppose any building that's big, including galleries, skyscrapers, shopping malls and any sports-related project ranging from stadiums to golf courses.

Moreover, while NIMBY people always like to point out other areas of town a project could go, the attitude of BANANA people is "don't build it at all."

If the building project is publicly funded, BANANA folks will definitely want taxes going to something else more important. But there are other BANANA people who also oppose private developments and claim it will harm others' businesses, ruin the landscape, create traffic or something else.

The key point is usually nothing will satisfy them. No matter what the developer does to meet the concerns, no matter what changes to the design are made, BANANA activists will oppose it no matter what.

That leads me to a third acronym. "CAVE", which is Citizens Against Virtually Everything.

This is a catch-all term to describe not only all the NIMBY and BANANA folks, but everyone who opposes everything else, too. CAVE activists not only oppose new arenas, developments and the like; they will even oppose new infrastructure, bridges and even public transportation. If someone is always opposed to new bridges or subway lines, in addition to the stadiums, that someone is definitely a CAVE person.

It should be obvious by now that I am not a big fan of these movements. In fact, there is an acronym that describes me, too. "ABCD" - Annoyed By CAVE Dwellers."

Some of what these folks stand for is legitimate. I wouldn't want some polluting plant nearby, either, and sometimes you need to stand up to ignorant developers who would tear down historic buildings.

I think most people, even pro-stadium people, agree money should be set aside for infrastructure, housing needs should be addressed, and that communities be run in a fiscally responsible manner.

But when a vocal opposition keeps on obstructing every stadium, every art gallery, every casino and every project that might make a community vibrant, that's different.

Any community worth its salt ultimately needs to invest in such projects to keep it moving forward, in addition to investing in the roads, dealing with housing and so on. Regardless of whether this investment is through public or private funding, it has to be done.

To me, the story of the fall elections is whether the NIMBY, BANANA and CAVE forces succeed in these races.

The more I think of it, I wonder if maybe I should be cheering these folks on in Regina. If they succeed in stopping the Regina stadium, it will leave the door wide open for Saskatoon to build one and move the Saskatchewan Roughriders to their back yard instead.

I think the acronym for that would be "GLOAT."