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LETTER: Cycling plan a boon for citizens

Levi Arsenault, 21, of Charlottetown couldn't wait for the first day of spring Wednesday to return to cycling. He says he has had his bike out a few times over the past week or so – his main mode of transportation in all seasons but winter. Although the calendar says spring has arrived, Islanders can expect rain, wind and maybe even snow at the end of this week as Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for the entire province, warning of a low-pressure system that is expected to track northeastward towards the Maritimes on Friday, bringing rain, strong winds and potentially some snow beginning Friday and ending during the day Saturday. JIM DAY/THE GUARDIAN
The health benefits of riding a bicycle are well known. — SaltWire Network file photo

I am writing in response to The Telegram editorial of June 1 (“Will bike plan gain traction?”) and the letter to the editor from Robin Reid on June 5 (“City’s cycling plan will shatter pedestrians’ peace”) about the recently drafted City of St. John’s cycling plan.

Together, those published opinions are disappointingly unconstructive and polarizing about proposed changes that have enormous potential benefit for this community.

In my experience, cycling provides the perfect means of physical health and mental balance, and the potential benefits of cycling for this community are too important to allow it to be swept aside by fear and distrust.

This paper’s transparently open-ended call to arms was answered by a classic piece of NIMBYism (not-in-my-backyard-ism) that promotes nothing but fear and distrust of fellow nature-lovers in our community.

In my experience, cycling provides the perfect means of physical health and mental balance, and the potential benefits of cycling for this community are too important to allow it to be swept aside by fear and distrust. Surely one day readers like Reid will not only realize how stunningly beautiful the world-class trails and rivers of St. John’s are, but will also open their hearts to sharing them with as many users as possible: hikers, bikers, runners, kids, dog-walkers and wheelchair users among them.

One day the value of our natural, intangible cultural assets will be realized as major draw cards for tourists and immigrants who want to build economically sustainable and vibrant communities.

One day, this community will realize that a perfect means of self-care, health and wellness was on their doorstep all along, and that we don’t need to bankrupt our health-care system or die too soon from self-inflicted death by salt, sugar and sloth.

We may not all be there yet, but that day is coming much sooner than The Telegram supposes.

Julian Kennedy

St. John’s

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