LETTER:County’s Official Plan lacks vision

So, after ten years in the making, it still required last minute changes (that the public never saw), and by a vote of 10 to 4, Council finally approved what is supposed to be “our” Official Plan.

To put this into perspective, this OP started three Councils ago. As our current mayor (who was also on the previous council) noted, it had languished for years. My question is – why? Some members of council stood proudly and claimed that this Plan was a living and contemporary document for the future. It was reported Councillor Roberts believed it was a “compassionate” document and that it was “a darn good plan”, but then went on to admit that it could have been better – “but that work was the domain of the gods… that’s not for us.”

Man, can this guy sweep things under the rug and put you to sleep at the same time!

Fortunately, our local media noted the four opposing votes. While I’m not in support of seeing Ameliasburgh withdraw from the County, as Councillor Bolik suggested, I do understand the disappointment he felt about this plan. He at least showed some sense of interest and spark to listen to what his constituents said were important to them. The other 10 councillors seemed to be nodding off into the world of those gods they talked about. Putting Bolik’s comment into perspective – a Wellington Times columnist has written on several occasions about PEC leaving the province of Ontario – with no harm done and we survive.

I believe Councillor Bolik spoke for a lot of people who also felt great disappointment with this Official Plan and how it was handled by the Council he sits on.

Bolik was expecting a better effort from all of them and didn’t get it. He was right to feel angry. This plan does not address regulating tourism, nor does it protect our natural environment from development. More work was needed – and at least four councillors realized this and didn’t support it. Good for them!

This Official Plan was developed during a pandemic – limiting public input and lacking public involvement. Our council has proven their online surveys and questionnaires go ignored – by them!

They do such things to make it appear they care and it makes them feel good, but the public has lost trust in them. For our Council to claim that the public could participate online shows just how out of it they are. Do they not know that much of the County has weak internet services? Do they not realize that during a pandemic, many are out of work and perhaps can’t afford highspeed to view their meetings? Sure, they do – they simply decided to ignore that too!

It was convenient for them only. Even during a pandemic, our council carried on with business as usual and rushed a document that was ten years late! Why? None of them spoke of their vision for the County, nor about the need to attract business and jobs for our younger people. They lacked the vision to see beyond themselves – something that public involvement could have corrected.

No one should need the help of the gods if they know what they are doing and cared about it.

It now appears that only four out of 14 did.

Dennis Fox

Northport