Opinion: Letters help you speak up on beliefs

By Mike Williscraft
NewsNow

Let’s talk a little about about letters to the editor, shall we?

We get a lot of them every week – sometimes on topics covered in the paper, but on occasion someone takes a flyer and wants to vent on different topics.

All are very much appreciated. I want to make that very clear.

Before we deal with anything topic-related, it is most important to note why some run, many don’t.

It would be great to print them all. It would be interesting reading and, as you see on a regular basis, when readers take a second to put pen to paper (yes, some still do that) or fingers to keyboard, there is great passion in what they offer. For someone to be moved enough to put themselves out there takes a lot more than you might think.

Every letter I run, the author must provide their address and phone number to me for my records, not for print. That is in case I need to follow with them some reason. That request alone makes some balk and I never hear from them again.

About 90 per cent of the time, this occurs when someone sends in a note commenting on how much they think my opinion stinks, or I am being too mean to council or I simply missed the mark on something.

I never mind when someone disagrees. It has been stated often my opinion is just that: mine. I offer it. I don’t sell it. What I do attempt to do week in and week out is put solid, accurate information behind that opinion. Then you, good reader, can form your own opinions.

I’ve had many letters dealing with the new high school. The vast majority note their resignation the District School Board of Niagara is so big and powerful, even the Ministry of Education cannot control it. This was evidenced by the recent announcement of funding the new theatre when DSBN dropped the communications ball in several serious ways.

My view? The ball was not actually dropped. It would seem far more likely there were many conscious decisions to not pick up the ball, then the administration can claim it was never dropped.

The issue for taxpayers, as always, there is only one pot and we continue to pay for mismanagement. It was and is a no-brainer to build the theatre now and there is NO concern with its inclusion. However, the land purchase, the gross mismanagement of the environmental cost projection and management for the site and poor planning on the theatre inclusion looks like three strikes and you’re out, DSBN.

The only criteria I try to use when deciding what runs and what does not, other than space – which a very real limitation – is redundancy. If one offering covers all the bases, that letter goes first. Often times, letters received cover practically the same ground. Other than that, I would run them all if I could.

Aside from Grimsby council, which generates enough letters to fill the equivalent pages of War and Peace, development is the number one topic on a consistent level.

Century Condos drew many over a couple of years. That is a major project which will do a lot of good for downtown….key ongoing issues there are parking and traffic impacts. These two items are universal – with parking being magnified since it has been mismanaged in Grimsby for more than a decade.

Main Street East in Grimsby has and will be taking a beating – with the shuffling of the heritage study by our five amigos on council to the clear cutting of 314 Main St. E’s Branthaven Homes development to the imposing, proposed seven storey structure of the Losani project at the Cole’s Florist property.

Such pressures are flowing their way over to the Town of Lincoln, make no mistake about that. Not all developers are as flexible as those working on Prudhomme’s Landing. Some of these guys will literally come into town hall and bull doze their way to what they want.

Often times, the developers are not wrong. They play by the rules and demand municipalities live to them as well. The problem is the rules are set by a near-blind Queen’s Park which appears oblivious to the imposition of big city measures in smaller town atmospheres. Don’t expect that to change but don’t hesitate to speak up – whether by a letter or directly to an elected official – about how you, as a taxpayer, believe things should be.

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