An outburst or a plea for a sympathetic ear?

There was an incident at Council on Tuesday night. It could have been an inebriated fan at a concert or an over zealous candidate at a political rally but it wasn’t, it was a hockey mom, a grandmother, a normally quiet reserved lady pushed a little beyond her limit. I should have been embarrassed, I should have wished that I was someplace else but I wasn’t, I was proud that I was there, that she was one of my friends, that she was a member of PRATAC and absolutely frustrated by the action of our Council. What did embarrass me were the reasons for her outburst. Council was, against the obvious wishes of the ratepayers, insisting on carving up the Don Maynard Park. This park was formally dedicated to the memory of one of the finest people who ever chose to make Almonte his home and who then spent his life improving the quality of life in his “hometown”.

Her tirade took exception to the fact that Council was making a mockery in the desecration of the park, dedicated to the memory of that great man, in the loss of playground used by 350 children over ten months of the year, as a quiet place for members of the local neighbourhood, in the loss of value in their properties as well as the loss of the premium they paid when the property was purchased. She made reference to the fact that 1300 people has signed a petition not to sell the Don Maynard Park and 347 people showed up at the public meeting protesting the potential sale. There were about 10 people at that meeting who spoke on different issues that showed how much the park meant to the people of the area and the people of Almonte, to their mental health, to the beauty of the now maturing trees, all of them making logical arguments against the sale of the park.

Part of the discussion at that Council meeting was based on the need for public input! How can you get more public input than that, which was expressed at the public meeting in August? To go now for public participation on how the park should be carved up to make room for 5 lots or 6 lots, when they had insisted that the park not be sold, is an insult to the people of Almonte and Mississippi Mills. The egotistical Mr. Edwards stated that they are working for the people who were not there, well the people who are not there had better speak up because right now they are conspicuous by their silence. It does appear that some of the Councillors (definitely not all, we thank those who support the “do not sell” position) feel that they are on a crusade to save the world or some other hypothetical objective and are going to see this through whether the masses like it or not.

This is another one of the reasons why PRATAC exists, it is not that we do not want to work with Council, that we are negative about everything but the people of Mississippi Mills, the ratepayers have a voice, whether it is the Don Maynard Park, the dismal condition of many of the streets and roads, or the Nugent Bridge the ratepayers have a right to a voice, to be able to discuss their concerns with the managers of their municipality, to be able to have some input into how their taxes are being used. This is not the first issue that Council has ridden their high horse on and indicated that the property rights of the people must be sacrificed for the greater good. Wars have been fought over such issues, all we want is the opportunity to discuss the everyday problems, that the ratepayers are experiencing, on an equal basis with no “holier then thou attitudes”. Please we are reasonable people, all we want is a voice.

Regards, Brian Gallagher, President PRATAC.