Letter: Campaign has seemed lacklustre thus far

As a resident of Sophiasburgh, I am disappointed in this lacklustre campaign and the lack of information that has plagued the 2018 municipal election. How are we to cast an intelligent vote based on what we have heard or read so far?

Since council’s self-serving decision to switch to 14 members, council has not shown the residents of Sophiasburgh the basic courtesy of informing them that one of our two council members has been lost and that our vote will be cast for just one representative. After the OMB, Shire Hall must have been so happy that most of their jobs were saved that they forgot to inform the residents. I can only assume they thought that we’d read about it in the papers. This election campaign has continued with that same level of indifference towards voters.

County wide, the only two incumbents running who have shown any thought for the taxpayers are Jim Dunlop and Barry Turpin – they at least, were willing to vote for a much smaller council and tried to follow council’s own process. The rest of council ran and hid from it!

Here we are just a week or so away from voting day and up here in Sophiasburgh, I have to wonder if there is an election happening at all. No local candidate contest, no mayoralty canvassing with few signs, no brochures, no mayoralty debates up here either, no trustee debates – nothing, zip, nada – zilch! With over 2,000 votes here no one has bothered to try and get them – Sophiasburgh has been ignored.

According to our incumbent politicians, the most important issues are affordable housing and STA. These are important issues, but they are not new, nor are they the most important ones. They have become council’s “smoke screen” issues meant to divert the public’s attention away from the other more pressing issues.

Important issues like the $350,000 pay out to the newly re-hired and then soon fired chief administrative officer or the $650,000 purchase of a convenience store, the $250,000 (again) for an OMB hearing, the almost $200,000 spent on 30 trees for the downtown redevelopment, the highest water rates in Ontario, plus the annual three-to-five per cent never-ending tax increases.

This council has wasted a ton of tax dollars – and yet not one word about it in this election! Have any of the mayoralty candidates shown the most basic understanding the county has a declining population of 24,000 – and asking what can we really financially afford? Has anyone running for mayor shown any level of financial knowledge of how the county is to pay for the challenges facing us?

Our community is in difficulty with a declining and aging population, declining enrolment in our schools, the selling off of public assets to find cash, the lack of job creation, the lack of public transportation, and the lack of both business and industrial growth. And still, not a word from any mayoralty candidate of what their plan is to address these issues. Not one new idea or plan to ensure this community’s welfare and future. After four years of doing the job, the incumbents ought to have some fresh ideas? So far, they have offered us nothing to vote for – never mind voting for them again!

I admire anyone who places their name on a ballot and who truly wants to help the people of our community. Good for them! But the pretenders who have only smoke screens to offer don’t deserve our support – we know who they are.

I encourage all of you who can vote to do so. This is an important election despite the performance of this past council. Let’s hope that change and fresh ideas will miraculously appear during the next four years. Our community desperately needs hope – only you can provide it by voting.

Dennis Fox