by Tracy Stimpson

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of having coffee with three Mississippi Mills council members, one-on-ones that happened over two weekends.

My first meeting was with Jane Torrance.  We met at Palms on Mill Street and sat right at the front window.  Many people walking by waved at Jane; you could tell she is well-known in town.  We talked politics, we talked life, we talked Mississippi Mills, we talked for nearly 2 hours.  What we talked about is not important; I was trying to get a feeling of who this person is that represents our town.  My takeaway was this; Jane cares passionately about the welfare of children, Jane cares passionately about the Hub (hot topic at the time) but most of all, Jane cares passionately about our town!

A week later I met Christa Lowry at Equator Coffee.  The place was still under renovation but we found a quiet area to sit and chat.  I joked that Equator must have used the same contractor as Gemmill park because both had to postpone their openings.  Truth is, it happens all the time in construction.  For those that complained about Gemmill delays, please understand that stuff happens and when complete it will be an area great for the kids.

It was my first time meeting Christa in person and I have to say I was very impressed.  Christa represents all of Mississippi Mills, from farmer to artist, she understands them all.  I asked Christa why she got into politics and her answer inspired me.

She told me that looking at the last council, she did not see any councilors that represented her demographic.  I thought that was very cool, instead of just complaining about council like most of us do now and again, she took action and ran.  Christa loves this town and it was easy to tell from the passion in her voice while talking about it.

The next day after meeting with Christa, I met with Jill McCubbin.  It was my favorite meeting because Jill brought along a secret weapon, her dog!

We grabbed a drink from Palms but as it was such a nice day, we sat on a bench behind the post office.  One of our topics of conversation was communication as it was coming up at the following council meeting.

Jill agreed that communication is something the town should improve and suggested that there should be public town halls to answer resident’s general questions.  At the end of our meeting a bunch of Shriners wanted their picture taken as a group outside the Barley Mow.

Jill took the picture while I held her dog’s leash.  They had no clue who she was, I thought it was so Mississippi Mills.  Friendly Councilor helping out friendly tourists in our friendly little town.  Made me smile.

The reason I arranged these meetings was to see what our group “Friends of Mississippi Mills” could do to help out council.

Funny thing is they all came up with the same answer.  They want to be challenged.  They want us to question their decisions.  They realize that they do not have all the answers and count on feedback from citizens.  They realize that they may get it wrong sometimes but are always trying to do what’s best for everyone.

Aside from these personal meetings, I have received e-mails from a few other councilors expressing similar sentiments.  Challenge them, just please do it in a respectful friendly manner.

Every councilor I met or e-mailed cares deeply for our town.  They have no ulterior motive and have nothing to gain by being on council.  They do it because they love this town, plain and simple.  They may not vote the way you want them on every issue but it’s not because they have some secret agenda.  They vote for what they believe is best for the entire town.

It was a great experience chatting with these council members.  They are your friends, your neighbours, they are good people!