by John Edwards

My dear friends in South Ramsay,

I have disappointing news for you with regard to the future of the cooperative agreement between MissMills, CP and Beckwith for your use of the CP Library.  The agreement guarantees Ramsay residents access to the CP Library.  It has been in place for over a generation predating the Municipal Amalgamation by a decade.  When I wrote to the Appleton Yahoo Group about this issue many months ago (August,2020), I recommended that you ask Council and its Library Board to consult with you, the affected community, BEFORE any decisions were concluded. I know that many of you did so. Sadly, I learned on March 11th that no consultation would be conducted with you before this coming Tuesday, March 16th when Almonte Councillor Jan Maydan will, once again, present a motion to immediately dismember the Agreement.  Indeed, it was clearly stated  to me that data would only be published AFTER a decision of Council was made.  In short, no data and certainly no consultation.  You can imagine my shock and I am sure, your shock.  Is it just me or does anyone else recall all councillors, during election time, speaking loudly about the need for more openness and more transparency?   Openness and transparency are fine words but words can be deceivingly used.  Actions speak the truth.

I presume Almonte Councillor Jan Maydan and the MissMills Library Board feel they have substantive information sufficient to ask Council to dismember the Library Agreement.  If so, what can be the harm of a public consultation? What’s the rush?  Five days notice is unseemly, at best. Indeed, Almonte Councillor Maydan states she wants to do the best for South Ramsay residences.  Again, these are just words. She is not accountable to South Ramsay residents at the next election.  I urge Council and the Library to tell us the ‘truth’ of their information. We are reasonable and intelligent people ‘down here’.  We are not stupid. We want to save taxes as much as anyone else but we also don’t want to lose services or make services too inconvenient to use or pay twice for the same service. We are capable of analysing your ‘truth’ and giving good advice to our political masters BEFORE decisions are made.  There’s tons of evidence that decisions can be better if proper consultations beforehand are conducted.  I believed, perhaps naively, that pre-consultation was standard operating practice.

Certainly, I am no longer your representative. Some may say, ‘He had his turn, its time for him to be quiet!’. To that criticism, I can only say that I lived and breathed Mississippi Mills for 25 years. I know the history and intricacies of issues and many may not.  I would not be a good neighbour if I knew an earthquake was coming and did not warn my neighbourhood. This issue is an issue of fundamental fairness and respect to the 1400+ residents who live in South Ramsay, pay their taxes to Mississippi Mills but rely on cooperation with Carleton Place for Library and other services.

Finally, I feel I may be writing a lament for the loss of respectful public consultation as standard municipal good governance. And I feel deeply saddened at the way South Ramsay is being casually and dismissively treated.  This is not the Mississippi Mills I know.  I further worry that your access to recreation and the pool will be next and there will be the same dismissive attitude shown to the residents.   However, it doesn’t need to be a lament.  It depends upon you.  I urge all of you to contact your Councillors and the Municipal Clerk asap to express your displeasure at the process and recommend a public consultation. Who could possibly be against public and informed consultation?  There’s ample time to do this the right way. Let your councillors know that you’re willing to help them to fulfill their words about “openness and transparency”.

Bev Holmes – bholmes@mississippimills.ca

Cynthia Guerard – cguerard@mississippimills.ca

Clerk – cmoyle@mississippimills.ca

CAO – kkelly@mississippimills.ca

Mayor – clowry@mississippimills.ca