I was driving in the car the other day when I heard this promotion for 'The Great Garage Sale Trail'.The idea is that a whole bunch of people get together and hold garage sales on the same weekend. I though this was a fantastic thought until I heard the words 'This project is being supported by a number of Local Councils.' I was so curious about this 'support' that I had to check the website and as expected the 'support' was of the financial nature, as well as free advertising, giveaways and the like. After all, it's good for the environment, isn't it?
Now let me admit that I love a good garage sale. I hosted a couple myself after moving house and not a few of my things were purchased at one. The difference that in my memory when you wanted to run a garage sale you just drew the signs, put you stuff out on the front lawn and got on with it. There was no word of Council 'support' being offered. Every quarter when I open my Council rates bill I have a mini heart attack. It feels like every time I blink my rate fees are growing. This is despite my rubbish bin shrinking by half and the local park looking more and more like a safety hazard. But I now realise that my council has found much better things to do with my money then the old rubbish removal and park maintenance. My council now offers sustainability grants, runs a writing competition and in my local library kids can sign up for free Play Station sessions. That has to be good for their academic development. I have never voted in the city mayor on the platform of free computer game playing or approved a special garage sale maintenance surcharge but the Council has made those financial decisions on my behalf anyway. So please allow me to ask: Has the community spirit sunk so low that we can't even hold a garage sale without the provision of Council funding? Is subsidised game playing really the best thing our teenagers need? Sometimes I wonder if all this local government 'support' is killing the real community spirit. After all, do we really need state money sponsorship just to have fun?