Sneller Says: Councillors and critics unite in peace and song

What up Almonte?  Your old pal The Sneller here.

Marc Snelling

Before I gets started, I want to drop mad respect for the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee ancestors.  Migweetch for keeping the land we now walk on sacred. It’s important for me to say this. So I come from a place of respect and giving thanks.  In the spirit of my grandfather’s grandfather Seneca Drybread. Of course a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, so call me Marc Snelling, lad, dude… dealer’s choice.

You may be asking yourself; Sneller where have you been?  Sneller who the f r u?  To these questions I say “No comment!”  Naw I’m just joshin ya. Who I am is a son of Almonte and where I’ve been is on a mission. A soul revivalist mission for redemption you ask? “How did you know?!” says I. But that’s another story.

A few things have changed since I grew up in the Monte. A whole bunch haven’t. Some of those changes are hard to process. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I hear local voices rising. Singing in unison a lament for the old ways.  I now seek to join them.  “Where is the Almonte Gazette?” I wail. The pages of shared wisdom from all walks of local life.  Sports, opinion, commentary, Silver Says, To Coyne a Phrase, Strictly for the Birds.   Where are you now Gazette? Almonte needs your voice!

The bad news is, those days are history. The good news is, we may remember them well.  So I take up my pen.  In memory of the words of St. Kitts, Rev McBurney, and the whole Almonte congregation. It is not local sports coverage I come bearing, but rather politics.  Yes that old chestnut. I see another change from the old days. Almonte has developed a taste for spicier political talk. And here I am to deliver it. I didn’t even know you needed it Almonte. I would have been back sooner, you should have called.

Last night I scored a front row seat for the 2nd and 3rd quarters of town council.  Thanks be to friend Mike Caughey. The 1st quarter was closed session, and I was needed elsewhere in the 4th, but I can give you the box-score. Staff and council members gathered in the semi-circle, listening, and asking good questions – 13.  Planners sitting behind in support – 1. New local dam projects discussed with everyone’s voice carefully considered and free of drama – 2. New lawsuits filed – 0. Engaged and respectful community members speaking out – several.

All your favorites were there; Shaun McLaughlin, Brian Gallagher, John Edwards and Steve Maynard. All four sitting in peace, sharing the same space, signing together. Kumbaya you ask?  No.  O Canada.  But dare to dream.  It warms the heart.

The fire and fury of recent online discourse was nowhere to be seen. ‘Something is rotten in the state of Mississippi Mills’ penned PRATAC in a recent letter to Lanark County Council. PRATAC president Brian Gallagher must be a lover of literature. Guess we both got our Shakespeare on at ADHS. So PRATAC’s more Hamlet, and I’m more Romeo and Juliet, but at least we have that in common.

Steve Maynard was in attendance carrying the banner of the “right”. Invoking the spirit of William Buckley and the old Almonte water tower. Figurative banner, not literal.  Don’t call the OPP. Like me, he is a fellow singer of the lament for the old ways.  Much of the meeting focus was on parking. Which has become scarce as new phases of the Gale subdivision are built out.  How does the right/left paradigm fit into the local parking debate? I’ll leave that for you to ponder.

Shaun McLauhglin chaired an open and business-like meeting.  Recently he has been targeted by the fashion police. If he was on the best or worst dressed list I cannot say.  I was only paying attention to what people were saying, not what they were wearing.  He was sportin the chain, I can tell you that.  Sportin the chain as good as Run-DMC?  You be the judge.

John Edwards spent most of the meeting listening and raised a few salient points on project details and how they relate to our shared vision for Almonte. The same could be said of every councillor at the table, and several people in the crowd.

Joining me at the meeting were my moms.  Two generations of council critics in the house!  Led to the meeting by Friend of Mississippi Mills Tracy Stimpson. It’s pushing 40 years since us Drybreads first attended council meetings. From that perspective I can tell you council has never been more attentive and professional.