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Church demolition extremely important

The recent church demolition is extremely important.

It is important from a heritage perspective: the public reaction is a reflection of the degree to which too many (all but 4 or 5) councillors are out of touch with the rest of us and what we believe is important –  and a lot of us think heritage is really important.

And, if that is not enough, the church demolition is also vitally important as an economic issue: visitors do not come to Picton to look at its Home Hardware building, nor are they reserving rooms in droves  to admire the architecture of the new Shoppers’ Drugstore (when and if that is ever built) – however efficient these buildings may be. No – they come precisely because the County still has buildings like the old Methodist-Episcopal church. They are attracted by the domestic and commercial architecture mainly of the 19th century as still preserved in parts of the County. This is a key economic issue every bit as important as the heritage one.

It is also a startling demonstration of what we think is the key issue facing the County: the total insensitivity of too many of our councillors – and apparently, some city staff members  – to their responsibilities to the people who keep them in their jobs:

Despite the importance of this decision, most Council members turned down the chance to designate the property as “heritage” (as recommended by the committee responsible for advising on heritage issues).  Why did they vote against pursuing a heritage designation for the church?

Why was that particular demolition firm permitted to do that work without close supervision? We can only hope that the fines from the Ministry of Labour and from the County will make it impossible for this kind of irresponsible – and at times criminal – demolition rampage to continue.  Of course. they may simply declare bankruptcy – and surface elsewhere.

A number of the same councillors who opposed the heritage designation also successfully opposed efforts to create a Code of Conduct for Councillors. Why? Who is hiding what?

These same individuals have also advised and voted us into the developing financial crisis we are facing. And so forth!

We desperately need change, but that change will have to start with us, the voters.  When we all vote, we simply have to do a better job of choosing our representatives at all levels.  We cannot just vote on whether or not someone seems “nice”. We have to figure out just who we can trust to manage these kinds of decisions more effectively – and then vote for them! And then, even more importantly, we also have to make sure they then hold city staff to the same standards as they themselves profess.  The failure of our politicians is ultimately our – the voters’ – failure. We all have to change that.

Mary Lazier-Corbett  and Mary Sinclair
Milfrod and Cherry Valley

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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