The devastation is shocking and the anger and sadness of those that live here great. A swath of trees either side of the Sydenham St. Vincent townline leading to the Bayshore Escarpment Provincial Park, part of the Tom Thompson Trail, gone. This is a section of road that had a cathedral canopy until it was recklessly cut down by municipal crew. Neighbours came, tried to stop them, argued about the beauty, about the Bruce Trail entrance there, the effects on springs and water tables, but to no avail. They brought it up at the Monday Council meeting and arranged for a meeting with staff the next day, but even then the cutting continued, not even pausing for the meetings which is what should have happened, a pause during consultation. When it was pointed out that the Conservation Authority should have a say they were told it didn’t matter — as it was the road allowance it was “our land” and “we can do what we like”. Well “our” land means ours, all of ours, and should be treated that way. People should be listened to. If there is a need to remove some brush and a tree or two, which the locals remained unconvinced about, then you find a way to do it without causing huge damage and with proper consultation. You don’t spend two days essentially fighting with the people you are supposed to be serving and wrecking their neighbourhood.
I promise that the Council I lead will make sure that the concerns of citizens are respected. A Council made up of new members will put an end to what the current leadership has fostered which is an atmosphere of us against them, of citizens versus Council and Staff.
In any municipal build that involves a lot of money you should really find infrastructure grants because you can reduce the full cost to the residents by sharing the costs with the federal and provincial governments. Just for comparison see the article from the Meaford Express, May 13, 2009, outlining where I brought forward a resolution asking the Municipality recognize the need for a new library of 12,000 square feet at an estimated cost of 3 to 3.5 million. Let me emphasize that this was a NEW library build, not a stop-gap retrofit of an existing building. And it was an agreement in principal and the start of a planning process in which the costs were agreed to and various sites to be explored because the Council of the time was considering the possiblity of a federal provincial grant sharing agreement — one in which the municipality would be responsible for one third (yes, 1/3) of the entire cost and they knew that we needed a plan that was “shovel ready”. Therefore it would have been less than 1.5 million dollars for a brand new 12,000 square foot library.
This is why I support revisiting the library proposal to evaluate the sources of funding and to find out why the present estimates for housing the library in the old downtown grocery store are so high.
Jim McPherson has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Concordia University and a Bachelors Degree in Journalism from Carleton University.
He is a former councillor (2006-2010) known for his hard work and standing up for all citizens in the Municipality of Meaford.
Jim has worked in both the private and the public sector, with experience in land development, fund-raising, health care and retail.
He and his wife Karen have two boys – Jeffrey and Edmund.
He currently enjoys working as a school bus driver with Martin’s Transit on route 766 in Meaford.
And don’t let the photo fool you, Jim is a Montreal Canadians fan.