Don’t hand Wakefield, Quebec’s keys to the tourists

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by admin on September 23, 2009

The Editor:

In response to last week’s article noting Mayor Bussiere’s possible intention to close the Wakefield, Quebec covered bridge to bathers in favour of maintaining it as a tourist attraction, I implore him to think this through. I fear that such an action would set a precedent, advancing Wakefield into dangerous, tourist-is-first territory.

As a member of the village’s service industry, I already see the effects of zealous marketing of Wakefield as a tourist destination, where hoards of train visitors wander down Riverside – on the sidewalk or right down the middle – thinking our precious town some sort of Upper Canada Village where building façades hide nothing but scaffolding and treasures such as the bridge are to be observed and not touched.

The massive undertaking of reconstruction after the devastating fire, I’m sure, did not involve the intention to keep it from good use, à la plastic-wrapped furniture in my grandmother’s living room. The bridge needs concerts on it, raft-riders under it, and bathers below it. Joy and participation are to be had with more than just our eyes – we must touch, smell, see and taste all that Wakefield has to offer.

Let’s support Wakefield as a creative, prosperous and interactive village where visitors are welcome, and encourage all that is to be had. Let’s leave the glass cases to the museums.

Matthew Drury

Wakefield