Loss of democracy no small thing says reader
January 16 2017
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To the Editor:
Loss of Democratic Rights
I was unable to probe those Councilors who voted against the Splash Pad location about what is clear to me to be 'a hired pen' approach by a 'writer/presenter' from Monteith Brown, the Consultant on the town Recreational Master Plan, who presented the Plan to Council.
It was only as a last minute request by Councilor Don Matheson that the motion to approve both the Plan and the Splash Pad location were separated into two issues.
The 'writer' who also appeared at the public 'open-house' session about the Splash Pad location, to me, had questionable credentials; he did not even know the types of trees at the location; he did not know the proximity of the stream running through the location; and it is speculation by me that he was not made aware of oversight/discussions by the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority fisheries file person - I was only made aware of same during the week of the vote (as an aside, the Deputy Mayor is also Chair of the Authority).
In addition, the Town offered no information to me and the 'Environment' was never mentioned by the Director of Community Services in either the Agenda/Minutes since the June 13th 'approval in principle' by Council.
This 'writer's' comments are laughable to me and I believe he was compliant to someone's wishes on the Town's staff.
As a concerned citizen, I wanted to ask questions but I was off-limits because of my complaint registered with the Deputy Mayor, Luke Charbonneau, a week earlier, but I was worried the Town would do a winter culling of the cedar trees. This is the Equivalent in my mind:
The concerns I have been raising are 'conservation' and 'environmental' concerns - for cyclists, for book readers, for nature lovers, for walkers, for mother with strollers, for seniors seeking quiet and solitude, etc. etc.; the change of seasons that affect water flow changes in the stream, the quiet viewscapes of Lake Huron with the sound of its waves against the shore, the family events held in the natural park and how getting to close to nature is increasingly important in the busy age - did the 'writer' understand any of this or care to find out?
I seriously doubt that community culture, social needs or history were taken into account by this 'urban centric' consultant (from London, ON) who was paid by the Town to present in front of the public.
In addition, Councilor Neil Menage expressed a very disrespectful approach toward those residents who are concerned citing them as having a 'bogus' concern and that it was all NIMBYism.
In my opinion, the way the Town has treated this process is a loss of democracy, where they ignored 1,700 petitioners and the 84.5% of respondents in an on-line survey who were against the location - not the concept of a Splash Pad.
The three Councilors, against the location, in fact voted in favour of the long-awaited Recreation Master Plan in its totality. However, let me be clear ... I and others do not, and won't, accept the Deputy Mayor or anyone else saying that the Recreation Plan trumps the Splash Pad location decision. That would be farcical.
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Monday, January 16, 2017