I do not live in town. In fact, I’m not even a permanent resident of Princeton, and I doubt very much that I will ever use the Aquatic Centre. I’m a forty-year summer resident with a cabin twenty-five kilometers out of town. I spend about four months of the year here, and have done so for all of my adult life, since Mom and Dad bought the cabin in 1971. So why on earth do I support the center?
There are several reasons. One is that I wish to give back to the town and area where I have spent so many wonderful summers and Christmases by supporting and yes, doing my part in paying for the Centre. Another is that I have seen the children of good friends in Princeton grow up with the old pool, a strong and wonderful part of their lives. But the biggest reason is because I believe in community.
Community is inclusive: it means that all of us profit from anything that improves the quality of life in our community: we all profit from the library and the museum, the trees on the street – even if we don’t use them, even if we live a long way out of town, because they augment the quality of life in our town.
It has been argued that Princeton is a drive-through town, that we are not a tourist destination. Both these things may be true, but Princeton is the town where many of us live and where most of us shop and where many of our friends have their homes, and the Aquatic Centre would enhance the quality of life in that town. It will not immediately bring tourists to us, no, but it is another step towards making Princeton a better place to live and to visit.
Perhaps we need to speak about making Princeton more of a tourist goal. After all, we enjoy a magnificent four-season outdoor environment and we need to talk about how the Centre is to be financed. But for now, this out-of-town, seasonal visitor is strongly for the Centre, and prepared to do my fair share of financing it for the good of the community.