TALKING ABOUT THE ARENA AND OTHER DEVELOPMENT

“Hey Maureen, what do you think about the new hockey arena?”
“I don’t think about it. I am too busy. Besides I can’t afford to go to hockey games.”
“There’s going to be a lot of big restaurants and a big outside area for eating food and stuff.”
“Yeh, I read that.  Can’t afford doing that either.”
“What about the new arts district and the museum?
“I suppose it’s nice for folks who got some extra money. I have never been in a museum.”
“Everybody’s saying all of this will change the landscape of the downtown area and make us a world class city.”
“Sure. Look, I focus each day on getting by and feeding my kids. Nothing you are telling me will be good for me and other poor families.”
“Do you think Edmonton shouldn’t have places like that?”
“Not saying that. Just don’t pretend it all will be good for Edmonton unless poor folk are not considered as part of Edmonton. This all will be good for people with money.”
“I see. Anything else you want to say?”
“I wonder how long it will take after all of this opens before my landlord raises the rent and I have to move again.”
“How do you know that will happen?”
“I live in a basement suite a few blocks away. I am poor not stupid.”
“Huh?”
“All of this new development will drive up prices and my landlord will sell his place for a big profit.”
“You think you might lose your place because of all of this?”
“Yep.”
“I hear local families will get some free ice time at the arena.”
“That’s great. I will spent my food money on ice skates for my kids. Can’t wait for the arena to open so I can get us some of the free ice time.”
“You are being sarcastic.”
“Why are we talking about this?”
“I just wondered what you thought.”
“Look. I work hard and make small money. I get by and don’t blame anyone for my life. But let’s tell the truth. All of these millions of dollars being spent won’t do anything good for my family. Won’t help my kids learn anything. Won’t help make child care cost what I can pay.  So yeh, I am being a bit sarcastic.”
“I see.”
“Let me ask you something.”
“Ok.”
“When all the big shots in their suits go on about how great this is for the City of Edmonton, do you think they are being sarcastic?”
“Not really.”
“Me either.”
“What is it then? You think they are lying?”
“No. I imagine they are good people.”
“Well, then. What? You think they don’t care?”
“I imagine some don’t. But truth is the worst of it is that folks like me don’t cross their minds. I am invisible and the arena and everything else will just make that worse.”
“That’s pretty harsh.”
“Yes it is – at least we agree on that.”
“Huh?”
“Exactly.”

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