Letter: Concerning issues to be considered at election time

Thank you for your editorial support of community activism. We generally work independently, at our own expense, to improve the human condition where we live. We often identify issues overlooked by others, but which concern a public preparing for an election.

Many of the property owners which were included unwillingly in Main Street’s heritage conservation district want out. They look forward to an exit vote that will allow them to opt out of what has become little more than an expensive signage battleground, stressing relations between the business community, and Shire Hall and its committees. Two of the mayoral candidates have indicated their support for an exit vote, while the third candidate has not responded.

Costs for the Skyway Bridge reconstruction are climbing and could approach the $200-million price tag, a price the MTO said they could not afford for a safe bridge fitted with pedestrian and cyclist protection, making it safe for families. In its present configuration, under the current MTO cycling rules, I became caught behind a cyclist on the bridge. I could not pass legally because of the one meter rule and double yellow lines, and I was blind to oncoming vehicles coming over the crest at highway speed. Cyclists should be banned until protection can be added.

It has been my experience that small town politics make it extremely difficult to speak out publicly about any aspect of bad government like bad service. Last year, out of frustration, I offered to launch a “resident performance form”, to be stored at Shire Hall. It would empower residents to document the performance of an elected official, or senior public servant. In the interests of democratic governance, this should be public information, especially when voting for the next term. It was refused, but council could demand it.

The growing controversy emerging around the legacy of John A. Macdonald is polarizing communities. Open discussion is essential for healing, but we can avoid triggering unpleasant public reactions on Main Street by dealing prudently with his likeness now.

If the Picton Town Hall, or Shire Hall, is made into a colonial museum, the likeness of Canada’s first prime minister can be safely stored there. Operating costs could be recovered from tourists who would likely be drawn to the downtown. A prudent decision now would acknowledge and respect the changing perception of Canadians, and lower the potential for unpleasant events on Picton’s Main Street. We can all win.

Steve Staniek