Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Luminara reveals true corporate nature of Victoria's Times Colonist

The Luminara has been part of much local debate lately. Especially the unsigned editorial of January 21 has fanned the flames. Let's have a look how the editors of the Times Colonist skew the facts to make all of us think that commercialism is the way to go for the Beacon Hill Park.

The TC begins their bullying right from the start: the Friends of the Beacon Hill Park are the "most unfriendly folks imaginable". According to the article, "all the rules and regulations" make "the the park no fun to go to anymore". No fun anymore? The rules haven't changed, but the opinions of our favourite (and only) Island newspaper clearly have.

The article continues with an abundance of complaints, you wonder what their coffee breaks are like. I will address a few of them.

1. We (most probably meaning: the editors of the Times Colonist - the TC is definitely not talking for all of us) are denied a Great Canadian Family Picnic. Well excuse me, what's wrong with bringing your own lunch?

2. The editors of the Times Colonist "can't buy an ice cream cone there on a hot day": can someone send a free city map to the editors of the TC and mark where the Beacon Drive Inn is located? It seems the "journalists" are not only bored to death, they're also either lazy or stupid.

3. "There's no place to sit down for a cup of tea." Where does this nonsense come from? There is plenty of space, just bring your own tea. Can someone else sponsor these editors with a thermos? (Don't forget to include the instructions :).

4."God forbid a beer or glass of wine". Hey, I have to agree with the TC on this one. When will it be possible to have a drink in public? Coming from the Netherlands (yes, pot country, gay marriages and what not), drinking a beer in the open is one of the things I miss. Symphony Splash with a beer? I'm for it! But don't blame the Friends for it, they do not make the rules.

The Friends are also blamed for the rules and regulations, set by the city counsel, that wouldn't let the sponsors of the event show their names inside the park. Rules that do not allow commercial activity to take place in Beacon Hill Park. Are the Friends of the Beacon Hill Park wrong by abiding the law?

Finally we get to the heart of the matter: According to the editors of the Times Colonist it is also "naturally" that sponsors, who would like "a little credit for their generosity", are giving up on the Luminara and therefore there will be no "lanterns or children's faces shining in the park".

Is it so usual that sponsors give up funding when they can't even show their names in small print inside the park? I don't think so. I am sure there are lots of people in Victoria who regularly donate (yes, donating is also sponsoring) activities and good causes, without needing much in return: a tax receipt does it for most of us. The tsunami donations, were a perfect example of real generosity. Unfortunately another breed of sponsors used to fund the Luminara. And this breed is used to getting what they want, or else.

Who are they? And what do they want? Maybe someone can fill me in on the first WHO question?


There are many ways of letting people know who is sponsoring the Luminara. Sponsors can inform their own clientèle through newsletters, they can buy some advertising space on one of the local radio stations "claiming their generosity", they can even buy advertising space in the TC.

But, the Times Colonist thinks that this is "naturally" not enough. Sponsors want a "little credit for their generosity". Their imposed advertising practices should also be allowed inside the park. And that's what the Friends are against, and so am I.

Commercialism without restrictions is a dangerous thing. It has ruined the objectivity of most North American TV stations and newspapers, and quite obvious that of the Times Colonist.

I like the Luminara. I like the Beacon Hill Park. I'm starting to adore the Friends of the Beacon Hill Park for taking a firm stand to sticking to their principles. I am disappointed about the stand of the TC. Not only are they (and their corporate friends) imposing their advertising on us whenever and wherever they think they can, they also bully well meaning volunteers with their false and inciting statements.

The Beacon Hill Park is a peoples park, not a corporate park. Let's keep it that way.

Friends of Beacon Hill Park, keep up the good work!


Anonymous said...

The Friends of Beacon Hill Park have it set up so there can be virtually no music, dance or performing arts in Beacon Hill Park (if there is any, it's mostly of an amateur/community nature).

This is lame.

Erik Abbink said...

That's strange, I live about .5 kilometres away from the park and in the summer I hear music almost every week! And there are lots of professionals playing too. I happen to be one and have played there too.

Are we talking about the same park?

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