Forever blowing bubbles

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We are into the last year of this Council’s term of office, so we can expect lots of interesting things to be seen and heard over the coming months. Mayor Gordon and CAO Carré, possibly wanting to polish their image after blatantly lying to the people of North Grenville about the College (no apology received as yet), have been happily boasting about their achievements in attracting businesses to North Grenville in the past year.

Of course, I am not sure that having a Starbucks and a KFC come to town is necessarily something major to boast about. The news of a new hotel arriving is also something for which they take credit, though, truth be told, they had precious little to do with the decision to build a hotel here. According to William Ng, Choice Hotels Program Manager: “Kemptville was one of the locations that Choice Hotels Canada had on the radar for a new build hotel as there was no hotel presence within this area. The location was introduced to the developer by Graham Marsh, Director of Franchise Development at Choice Hotels Canada and through further investigation by the developer and Choice Hotels, Kemptville proved to be a great location for a new build hotel.”

At the same time, we’re still waiting for the news about the final, final, absolutely definite agreement on Kemptville College, which we all hope will be a wonderful thing. No doubt the Mayor and the CAO are just waiting until the Province decide what it is they will allow us to have, and at what price. After three years of negotiating, the Wynne Government has timed the announcement to perfectly coincide with this June’s provincial election. The Liberals need all the help they can get in this riding, and a nice gift of some of the College will be something they may think will win them votes here.

Rumours are rife in Toronto and even in North Grenville of the massive new development project that is planned for the municipality, bringing with it untold riches, lots of jobs and a place in the sun. This is, doubtless, what the Mayor was referring to recently, when he told us he would have something to knock our collective socks off. Something else he can take credit for, along with everything else.

The problem is that, while the current occupants of the Municipal Centre are preening themselves, things are not as rosy as they would like us to think. A letter in this issue from a former Mayor of North Grenville asks some pertinent questions regarding finances and Kemptville’s water and sewage system. He and other experienced former representatives have been raising concerns about the ability of municipal staff and politicians to manage the College, should that ever come into public hands.

Local builders, developers and other businesses are becoming really frustrated with the appalling amount of red tape with which they have to deal in order to get any new project off the ground in North Grenville. It seems that major corporations like WalMart, Starbucks and KFC are welcomed with open arms in this municipality, while local business people are left standing in line, waiting to be allowed to bring prosperity and jobs to their neighbours.

In this issue you will also find an article pointing out the dangers we are facing if we continue to base our future development plans on laying more and more concrete, to the detriment of good agricultural land. This affects, not only the agricultural community itself, a sector of our economy that has been suffering badly for many years, it also has a very negative impact on the air that we breathe, as the article demonstrates.

There is a bright spot, however, for the agricultural sector in noting that Councillors Jim Bertram and Donovan Arnaud are working with interested parties to hold an Agri-Summit in April, where agricultural issues will have an opportunity of being aired and discussed.

This is an illustration, for those watching, of the difference between taking credit for things you had little or nothing to do with, and actually getting out there and making things happen for the people who elected you (or who pay your salary).

The Sweetheart Brunch this weekend reminds us that the people of North Grenville have made something wonderful of this municipality. They care, they work hard, volunteer, put their money and time where their mouths are, and deserve to be treated with real respect. They certainly deserve some transparency and openness from their representatives and municipal management. The election is on Monday, October 22. Lots to think about before then.

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