Are they listening? The mystery
of "appearing ear plugs" and other councillor musings


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Ward 1 councillor Jacqueline Faubert walked into an early morning meeting at the Municipal Administration Centre (MAC) with a burning question. 

"I have been driving past the MAC for a few months now and have noticed hundreds of bright green and orange ear plugs scattered along Concession 5 particularly around the MAC building - where are these coming from?" she asked staff. That was two months ago and the ear plugs are still appearing.

Staff informed her that the ear plugs or buds have showed up various times in the past few years. Staff used to go out and pick them up but they just kept reappearing, she was told. 

Tongue in cheek, Faubert noted, "Does this mean the community thinks that council is not listening?" 

Besides being a mystery and an offence of littering as well as a waste of personal safety devices and dollars, the ear plugs prompted Faubert to take this opportunity to let constituents know that she is listening. She would like to comment on a resurfacing issue.

"When council decided to change the governance structure and streamline the committee system, it was my belief that we did this to improve on the system, and to rid red tape and communication obstacles that traditionally plagued the committee structure." 

Speaking from experience, she notes: "As a volunteer geared up to develop a dog park in the community, I couldn't believe how many times I had to go back and forth from council to committee to another committee to council. It wasn't efficient and communication was difficult and often lost." 

She continues, "Now, volunteers can come directly to council to present their ideas, concerns or issues and often see results that night."

Faubert is reminded of the cases of the recent bathroom renovations at the Kincardine Arts Centre, the concession booth and the expanded playground area at the Davidson Centre, and the proposal for the pavilion in Inverhuron. "One of the most interesting and enjoyable segments of a council meeting is hearing from volunteers and working with them to facilitate their ideas, projects and resolving their concerns."

She notes that it was never her intention to "get rid of" or affront volunteers, as was perceived by many in the community after the governance change. 


"I know I also speak for many other councillors. Volunteers are one of this community's greatest assets. We want to make it easier for them (and us) to get things done. I have been told by my constituents to get this message out, to correct misperceptions. 

"I am taking the opportunity to once again send this message and to encourage all volunteers and their organizations to approach council. It has been my experience that listening ears are present.

"I have lived in over a dozen communities across Canada. Volunteerism is alive and well in Kincardine in comparison to these other communities. I was drawn to Kincardine and area, in part, because of the dedication and passion of a large interconnected and well-established volunteer base. This base is highly skilled and pulls from a diverse expertise pool."

Faubert also welcomes any ideas you might have on where the ear plugs are coming from.

Previously published in The Kincardine Independent

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012