Wednesday, May 25, 2022

ALMONTE ONTARIO

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Letters to the EditorBoth electors and the elected have a legacy to leave

Both electors and the elected have a legacy to leave

The sleeping giant awoke and we wonder if our town will ever be the same again. I’m wondering if anyone else is asking themselves could it all have been prevented, what part did they play in having it occur in the first place?

Maybe it will prove to have been a good thing for both the electorate and those seeking to be elected — time will tell but it is not too early to begin the process of exploration that will lead us toward our desired results for our future.

For many of us it has been one of three hot buttons that got pushed and set the strong reactions in motion — Enerdu, Heritage Conservation and/or the proposed sale of Don Maynard Park/Block 42.

We rose up in great furor against our elected body’s handling of the issues, found ourselves attending private small group meetings, petitioned the public in support of our cause, attended Council meetings, researched the legalities of the proposed actions, formed formal groups to oversee and participate in future Council activity, wrote furiously to the local papers and participated in interviews and on occasion from both sides of the isle we even displayed our potential for being aggressive and threatening when our passion, emotions and frustration got the better of us.

On the electorate side of the issues, I think we all remember some version of the above evolution of events and to date satisfactory resolution continues to be in the making.

What I want to confess is my own responsibility in all of this and I can’t guarantee that it won’t happen again — apathy is what I’m referring to.  I speak only for myself because I know that there are many in the community that have been actively engaged in and who take an active interest and are informed about local politics. Me—not so much, and that is where I have to bear and maybe along with others share some of the responsibility for the recent descent into the chaos.

If we wish to be spared future agenda items surprising us and from taking us down a similar path, we need to become fully informed prior to the term of office of whom we are choosing to occupy the Mayor and Councilor seats around the horseshoe — what is their vision, what do they deem to be priority issues facing our communities, what is their position on managing the municipal budget, where do they stand on tax increases, what importance do they attribute to the broader health and growth issues of our community like water quality, infrastructure, parks and green space, growing our tax base through small industry, supporting our business community etc.

We each need to know in advance of casting our vote, what style of leadership the candidates for the jobs have demonstrated in other aspects of their lives or previous governance, what knowledge base do they bring , what beliefs are being brought to the table, what do we perceive their own personal agenda might be for wanting to be elected in the first place and importantly are they inclined to listen and reason independently — this may seem a monumental task and it is, but to remain apathetic and then find fault after the fact does not represent the complete picture when the giant is wakened from a dead sleep and seeks to lay blame for the rousing.

“Informed” is the magic word in this discussion and it requires an interest in what makes the life of a community tick in a safe, cohesive manner — there is much for the electorate to learn about the running of our municipalities as we all have discovered when we focused  on just one of the hot spots that stirred some of us to life.

It is no easy task to lead others, sometimes it feels like a no win situation especially when resources are limited and it is evident in what we have experienced during the recent growing pains that the individual choice made for allowing your name to stand for office requires the same intense self-reflection and knowledge of the electorate as it does for the electorate to scrutinize the candidates running for election.

So I publically confess apathy and I will try to be more informed in advance of going to the voting booth next election and casting a vote for the leaders who will have an influence on my health and well being for a period of four years.

” The Friendly Town ” is worth the effort on my part —it is our legacy for those that follow in our footsteps.

Karen Hirst

 

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