I've been following the points of view about whether the noise levels at the Relay for Life event are acceptable or not in a residential area one night a year.
Everyone seems to agree it's a noisy event, and that the noise wouldn't usually be acceptable, otherwise it wouldn't need an exemption under the noise by-law. The disagreement is about whether that much noise is okay one night of the year when it's for a good cause.
Clearly, Relay for Life is a charitable event that is deeply meaningful for many people. I'm not suggesting taking away this important community event and support system from anyone at all (and yes, my life has been touched by cancer, too).
What really stands out for me is the attitude that because this event is for a good cause, it's okay to be inconsiderate – and even disrespectful, as some have been – to those disturbed by the noise. This leaves me wondering ... do organizers, participants and supporters of Relay for Life really believe that only those whose lives have been touched by cancer are worthy of respect and consideration? And that the discomfort of nearby residents disturbed by the noise can be discounted and disregarded?
If the answer is “Yes,” I will only remind us all that extending respect and consideration to one group of people at the expense of another is a very slippery slope.
Can the empathy and caring for cancer survivors be extended a little further to include nearby residents who may have their own personal reasons (including health reasons) for needing less noise and needing to get to sleep at a reasonable time?
Can the concept of community be stretched enough to show consideration to the neighbours who are essentially hosting this event in their backyards, whether they like it or not, no matter what they may be going through in their own lives?
In other words, is it too much to ask a charity to show a little charity?