In spite of the majority presence of community residents who do not support the skating trail at the well attended meeting last night, the facilitator and city staff stubbornly plowed ahead with their lopsided view of a consultation with the public and presented the project as a done deal, beyond negotiation, with no room for a genuine say from the very people whose money is on the table. The Councilor and facilitator misrepresented the first skating trail meeting in April 2007 as a nod to their project, with some tweaking, when, in fact, it was a virtually unanimous rejection of the plan and a call for the project’s two million dollar funding to go towards the creation of the long-promised, full community center - tax dollars well spent. History, apparently, can be rewritten when you hold all the power! The facilitator, city staff and Councilor declined to engage the community on any of the larger issues described in previous posts and refused to give the audience a chance to offer a show of hands on the plan. What a rebuff to all of those people who gave up their evening in the vain hope that their opinions might be valued.
And what was the presence of police all about?
To add insult to injury, Grimes insulted the hundreds of members of Friends of Sam Smith Park and the democratic process itself with his crude response to our request that the Public Advisory Board be set up to guide development and management in the park, a recommendation in the Master Plan and endorsed by fellow Councillor De Baeremaeker. His curt response (“No, not with your group!”) indicates the value he places on public input. Contrast that with Laurel Broten's description of FOSS in the post
LOCAL MPP EXPRESSES SUPPORTS FOR FOSS'S VISION FOR...
They just don’t get it. There are many, many people in this community who do not want cement-based, activity-focused development in the park, with the spectre of more development to come if concession rights for the Power House are given by council to business concerns. They want it to remain a passive, undisturbed, nature park and are quite happy with it the way it is, excited about watching the park’s green space mature over the years to come. They want the Power House to be used as a unique nature center for youngsters.
The Councilor’s job is to bring together community residents who share different visions and work with them to find a respectful, consensus solution that strives to meet everyone’s needs instead of this dismissive, winners and losers, steamroller approach. Reminiscent of this is his now-famous response to residents who were alarmed when the skateboard facility was proposed two years ago next to sensitive wetlands and woods. He trivialized genuine concern with the flippant quip, “We’ll make sure all the cement is painted green for you environmentalists.” That about sums the whole thing up!
Posted by Terry Smith