PRATAC inconsistency

Letter to the Editor
by R. Sukhu

Recently there have been two issues in Mississippi Mills that have garnered a lot of attention: first the Natural Heritage System and the second is the section of the rail trail that is within Almonte.

PRATAC is an organization that makes the claim that it is non-partisan and is here to defend all taxpayers.  As I outline below, this is a hollow claim.

Case 1:  Natural Heritage System (NHS)

PRATAC accusations are:

  1. No consultation with the public
  2. Decisions being made behind closed doors and council attempting to “ram thru” changes
  3. Not listening to people who are affected (in this case Mississippi Mills council)
  4. People’s rights are being trampled

PRATAC’s response:  A huge issue was made of this:  flyers printed and distributed, at least 3 community meetings organised with lots of pressure on MM council.

Case 2:  Rail trail in Almonte 

As reported in this Millstone article  here are the complaints about the rail trail in Almonte:

  1. No consultation with the public
  2. Decisions being made behind closed doors
  3. Not listening to people who are affected (in this case Lanark County)
  4. People’s rights are being trampled – the right to enjoyment of their property

PRATAC’s response: silence.

When I look at Case 1 and Case 2 they seem very similar yet PRATAC responded in very different ways.  In Case 1 there was a vigorous response and in Case 2 no response.

PRATAC’s behaviour is even more perplexing when you consider the words in their constitution. The following are quotes from the PRATAC constitution:

“2.1. Be a non-partisan advocacy group that will defend the interests of all taxpayer categories.”

“2.4. Ensure decisions by municipal government are made with transparency and stakeholder/taxpayer consultation.”

“2.5. Proactively defend the interests of local taxpayers who are being “blindsided” by the decisions of municipal government.”

For Case 2 they are not defending the interests of the people living beside the trail: a violation of section 2.1 of their constitution.

In Case 2 there is no transparency into how Lanark County made its decision.  PRATAC is violating section 2.4 of their constitution.

If ever there was a case of being blindsided I think the rail trail in Almonte qualifies yet PRATAC chooses to do nothing – violating section 2.5 of their constitution.

I do hope that PRATAC will mature and live up to their own commitments instead of selective application of their stated objectives.   A good start would be to do as they claim and begin defending “all taxpayer categories”.