Opinion: Two losses and council miss

By Mike Williscraft

Couple of important things before I get into the mundane world of municipal council…

I was saddened to hear on Monday of the passing of John Pachereva Sr.

Mr. Pachereva is one of the first people I met when I came to town in 1995. I dealt with him and his son, J.D Jr., countless times back in the days when they operated the IGA in the present-day location of GBF’s retail shop.

Every single community group knew they could count on the support of Mr. Pachereva. He was old-school class and always delivered when someone or some group was in need.

Just a nice man, a real gentleman. Condolences to his family!

As well, several weeks ago we ran an obit for a very nice lady, Grace Cowling. Grace was a very nice lady and a stellar artist. If you know her work, it was unique, colourful and intricate.

In 1997 when I started Grimsby News in the basement of a townhouse on Pleasant Grove Terrace the first week was utter chaos. It was the only time I ever completely tanked a deadline. I think it was 5-6 a.m. when we finally got the flats over to CanWeb and our deadline was 7 p.m. the night before.

That was back in the cut and paste days, of course, and we had no light tables. In fact, we were using any flat surface…the couch, kitchen counter, dining room table…ugh, it hurts just thinking about it.

Well, good reader, I made the error of comparing pushing out that first edition to child birth.

Well, the reaction was right up there with the time I did a column in the 80s saying figure skating was not a sport because sports with judges – not head-to-head competition – don’t count. That wasn’t good.

Or the time I had Brownie moms descend upon our office and demand a board room meeting with the publisher and me after I a comment about the whole cookie selling guidelines being way over the top.

While neither of those was particularly enjoyable, they paled in comparison the blow back from comparing to putting out a paper to childbirth lemme tell ya!

So, about a week later, I get this package on my desk. Clearly something in a frame, but I had no idea what or from whom.

I open it.

It’s a watercolour of a mountain landscape with a few birds flying above, the sun off in the distance with its glare shimmering across the water.

It came with a note saying I could use this offering as therapy to calm myself either during deadlines or stressful times. After reading the Letters to the Editor I had printed, she thought I could use it more than anyone.

I have that painting right next to my bed. It is the first thing I see every day when I get up and it makes me smile every day.

It was a simple gesture on Grace’s part and one I will not forget. Thanks, Grace.

* * * * * *

Monday night’s approval of the Branthaven Homes development on Main Street East was a formality from the outset. It was clear five members of council had no interest in listening to concerns of residents who made many solid points.

It is important to note, nobody said don’t build it. This was not a NIMBY situation as many get written off to. It boiled down to requests for 1-2 lots fewer for density relief, true bungalow style for lots adjacent to an established neighbourhood and residents wanted to see (as did some members of council) a completed Master Plan for drainage.

Having lived in the adjacent subdivision to the east – Vineyard Valley – I can tell you, drainage should be a major consideration. In heavy rains, we regularly saw water flowing by our house right to the top of the curb –and I mean flowing at a high rate.

Again, Coun. Randy Vaine waived his red herring of a “concern” regarding legal costs. It’s been shown time and time again costs are only a factor when it is something he is not in favour of, but that is true of all card carrying members of the G5.

It is another unfortunate example of something good – yes, Branthaven’s offering is a good thing (in this day and age) but planning missed the mark, council ignored the mark and residents of the area will pay whatever price a slightly less then ideal development turns out to be.

It didn’t need to be that way, but that is how council rolls.

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