Reader surprised at contentious location decision made without input
January 9, 2017
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Letter to the Editor:
Before amalgamation, before Town Staff, Jayne Jagewleski or even Mike Myatt, my town of Southampton embraced natural dunes and planting hereditary local grass types to retain sand, well before Port Elgin did.
Companies, like Shell (my old company) were recruited on fundraising drives by volunteers, their signboards displayed, with others, right at the town's flagpole and also at Gerry's Fries in a protected area.
This was very much supported by our then CAO, Ron Brown. The Southampton Residents' Association (SRA) of which I became a Director long with the Lake Huron Coast Conservation Centre (LHCCC), got behind these efforts.
Neighbours got their hands dirty for days as they adopted the aesthetic project which, by the way, saved the Town a huge amount of money by 'going natural'.
In addition, the Monarch Butterfly Parks numbering over 26, with Volunteer Stewardship is the largest single community contribution to the University of Kansas that started registration in Canada and is no small feat due to the early values that the town leadership encouraged.
In my view, my one-year (2011) term on the Waterfront Mater Plan committee, demonstrated a totally different value set in Port Elgin. There was never any explanation of how North Shore Park ever became a candidate for a splash pad. Therein, lies the difference and the now the Town has played to accepts that difference.
I personally hoped that I could spend some time with the newly arrived CAO, David Smith, who it appears did not sign the June 13th Staff submission resulting in 'approval in principle' by Council and which I never thought would be approved in December due to the following:
- without input from Geoff Peach of the LHCCC that was a signatory of the 2013 Waterfront Master Plan and, who I imagine was shocked as suggesting the Port Elgin main beach at the beginning and now North Shore Park
- without Waterfront Adivisory Committee input who created the Waterfront Master Plan
- without Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (also a signatory to the Waterfront Master Plan) input because it was stated that an environmental assessment was not required and it was not asked for location decision
- without listening to 1,700 Petitioners
- without listening to an 84.5% disapproval in an on-line survey
It is no surprise to me at all, whatever the stated reasons, that most of Southampton is very much against the stubborn approach and attitude of Town Staff.
It is a real and valid 'downer' for Saugeen Shores and, hopefully, the Ombudsman with whom I have been in contact can have some influence.
I thank every day for Councilors Cheryl Grace and Don Matheson and Vice Deputy Mayor, Diane Huber, voted against supporting this contentious location.
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Monday, January 09, 2017