As founder of Imagine Comox Valley, a non-profit society
dedicated to promoting sustainable communities, I wish to provide clarity
regarding the purpose and vision behind Car Free Sunday. Simply stated, we wish
to provide an opportunity for the public to take to the streets and celebrate
community. As a father, business owner of an engineering consulting company in
Courtenay employing some seven people, retired military officer, and dedicated
community ambassador, my personal objective is to enhance our experience of
community. I attended the Royal Military College of Canada where I obtained a
degree in Civil Engineering and served for 11 years, including six as a combat
engineering officer. Through this experience, I am comfortable with taking
risks, coordinating events, and organizing people to achieve a common goal. I
say this as I think it is important to assure residents of the Comox Valley
that the idea and planning behind Car Free Sunday is based on very solid
planning principals, organized by a “command team” of over 15 dedicated
volunteers from various backgrounds.

As to the vision of “Car Free Sunday”, perhaps we did not
choose the best name for the event.  I
wish to be clear that this is most definitely not an anti-car event.  Instead, this is a “pro-people” event.  We are proposing to close some roads and
streets so that they can be available to all of us in a way they aren’t on a
regular basis.  The roads and streets of
our communities make up a huge public space that we all pay for and, for the
most part, can only really use with vehicles. 
Car Free Sunday is intended to be an event where – for four hours – anyone
can go out and enjoy this public space. Residents of any age can be walking,
running, roller blading, biking, scootering, dancing, or mingling with other
members of the community.  It’s a chance
to talk to your neighbours, stroll down the street to the park, enjoy some
live, free music, or go and participate in free exercise or fitness classes.

If your home or business is along one of the roads that will
be closed or partially closed, yes, you may be somewhat inconvenienced if you
need to use your car. We recognize this, and have addressed it. However, you
will also be sitting on a huge opportunity! What better day to have your annual
yard or garage sale with hundreds of people potentially walking past your property?  What better day to set up a stand in front of
your business and promote your wares? 
How about offering a discount for folks who arrive at your business without
a car?  Why not get together with your
neighbours, throw your lawn furniture in the street and host a block
party?  If you are a car, truck or
motorcycle enthusiast, why not put it out on display?

This event is for everyone – everyone of all ages, backgrounds
and occupations. It is a chance to go out, have some fun and be a part of your
community! We hope you will join us the afternoon of Sunday, September 25, and
we hope you will bring your ideas forward to create an outstanding community
event!

Andrew Gower, Imagine Comox Valley

Andrew