Town council to address Wood Street closure policy

Jason Malloy
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TRURO - A statement is expected to be released today by Truro town council regarding comments made earlier this week by Mayor Bill Mills regarding Wood Street.
The town introduced a street closure policy but during Monday's debate little was discussed as to why. Mills told this paper in
an interview on Tuesday the top of Wood Street, which has an entrance to Victoria Park, has long been known as an area where gay men go to hook up and has become more of a problem.
Many in the community have reacted strongly to the mayor's comments.
Al McNutt, of the Northern AIDS Connection Society and a gay man, said Wood Street and Victoria Park have been well-known areas for people having sex for years.
"I don't condone the activity, but I also don't condone the activity if there's heterosexual couples up there having sex in the car, having sex in the bushes," he said.
"I really don't think there would be a huge outcry if someone went up in the park and saw two young lovers, a guy and a girl, having sex."
But he feels the mayor's comments targets the gay community.
"You are talking about a population that has been dealing with discrimination and stigma and being suppressed for so many years," he said.
Karen Kittilsen, executive director of the society, said the comments affect its education awareness and prevention plan.
"When there's a spotlight focused on an issue like this it just drives things further underground and it puts barriers up," she said.
McNutt said there is sex occurring in the park but not necessarily just gay men. He said there is a "new population" of men who have sex with men who do not identify themselves as gay. They identify as straight and could be gay or afraid of hiding it.
"That population is big, it's huge," he said.
McNutt said it has also identified an area that could "escalate a level of hostility in the community and may lead to possible violence."
He hopes that does not happen.
McNutt has been told there are other reasons for moving the gate further down the hill like protecting the watershed or providing more road access for cross-country skiing.
Mills was raked over the coals for comments he made in 2007 when the town decided not to fly the gay pride flag.
"This is two strikes and I would hope," McNutt said, pausing, "something has got to be done."

jmalloy@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Truro town council, Northern AIDS Connection Society

Geographic location: Wood Street, Victoria Park

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Recent comments

  • S
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    Just goes to show you there is still ignorance in this world...and representing our town too...shame!!!

  • Switchback
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    Obviously alot of the people, if not all that have reacted strongly to the Mayors comments do not live on Wood St. I do, and I applaud any action taken to stop this inappropriate behavior. For years my family and I have avoided walks to the top of the hill for this very reason. Now we have Al McNutt passing out condoms in the name of safe sex when in reality all he is doing is promoting his own beliefs and using our Mayor as his personal platform for this. I'm not sure that a gate is the answer, but something does have to happen. I for one have had enough of single ( or married) gays racing up and down my street for a rendezvous in the park.

  • Elizabeth
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    Bill Mills has done more to tarnish the image of this town, with his thoughtless cavalier comments. He needs to get his head out of his Bible, and stick it into the real world, and embrace all those with differences.....He needs to open his eyes and not his mouth. I do not agree that any person of any sexual orientation should be in the view of others when having sex, BUT!! Why does he just single out GAY men? Methinks that Bill is afraid of what he may be. Methinks it is time for a new mayor in town.....

  • michelle
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    it is not just the gay community. I am a straight person in my 40's and I can remember in high school everyone went there, to hang out to party or to look at the stars stop bringing personal predjudices into the mix and if there is a gate going to be moved to protect the community just say so. There is no reason to spotlight a particular group of people because you feel that they are in the wrong. Some people for instance may feel that personal preaching is getting tedious.

  • Sheila
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Mr. Macnutt your totally right , I am 52 years old and I remember hearing that a lot of good times not only for gay people but heterosexuals as well,. Mr Mills seems to have a problem, singling out the Gays by not wanting their flag now using them to clean up an already popular parking spot ,pardon the punn. We are all gods people regardless of our sexual orientation,race or colour.

  • Derek
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Wood St. has been a make-out spot for years for teens. Now because there may be homosexula activity there, Mayor Morality wants it blocked off. When will the Town of Truro cut Mr. Mills loose? The liability being taken on by the town with his openly discriminatory remarks should scare all Truronians. Mr. Mills is elected and paid to speak on behalf of all citizens. If he wants to speak for himself and his morals, he should go back to radio and become a shock-jock . When the first lawsuit or Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms complaint comes in, don't be surprised.

  • Rob
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Seriously, the comments Mills made casts a shadow of Truro still living in the 1950's. Nobody has to like or agree with what happened or happens in Victoria Park.

    However, you would think someone that is the mayor of this area could handle his side of things differently and possibly more appropriately.