Published July 9, 2017 at 18:18 | Updated July 9, 2017 at 18:18
North Hatley needs a long term vision
North Hatley needs to build a long-term vision and make room for any project that will go in the direction of a consensus of a real participatory democracy.
SPECTRUM MEDIA, MARIE-LOU BÉLAND
I went to the meeting of the Council last Monday and the atmosphere of heavy, non-transparency and mutual distrust has convinced me that it was necessary to write collectively, “you our elected” without going through the filter distrust of your administration deal with people who think differently. So I write this opinion piece in The Tribune .
For nearly four years you, our current elected City Council are looking for solutions to enlarge tax base too heavy to bear for a small community. The same spirit, you seek to offer a quality of service that would allow families to settle and businesses to live adequately. You want prospective respond positively to attrition and the needs of an aging population as well as the departure of forces to urban centers. Finally, as a municipality, you want to monetize uninhabited areas, enhance and modernize the housing stock. We are aware of the effort to solve such equations, but also how it is imperative to include them in a comprehensive plan, a vision and a consensus.
Throughout your mandate, you have invested a lot of effort to support almost unrestrained one project as the solution to all the problems of the municipality. You have been identifying and facilitating the path to the project of a single promoter owner of this great flood area in the village. And you have spared no energy to the vision of this promoter makes its way against the enlightened view of part of the population opposing this choice.
Beyond the “democratic mechanisms” too often helpful to frame arguments difficult to hear, there certainly had your failure on the “spirit of democracy”, given this climate of distrust and dissensions’ is installed between the proponents of different views, those of “first economy”, on one hand, and those of “harmonious development of the community in all its aspects,” on the other. different visions, but still reconcilable little we act in “good father” who listens and decides based on the opinions of everyone.
Since this project travels through assemblies, meetings and senior levels, you are deprived of technical knowledge and enlightenment just as informed as your consultants, preferring to believe and trumpeting that those who oppose do not want any change. And you especially deprived of the depth of the community experience of these people. All in all, you believed saving efforts and have succumbed to the easy solution of economic development that will undoubtedly nothing lasting. Who will buy at high prices a condo in a flood zone without insurance can insure against the risks?
We have just gone through a difficult spring nationwide, due precisely to the main subject of the dispute, or the construction of several buildings of 3 to 5 floors totalling some 210 condos in a flood zone. What Quebec should have lived hard, like governments, do you think a little further and you start listening more seriously strong arguments of some opponents who rang the bell for a long time.
Worse, you do not have “planned” or imagined your municipality other than through the idea of “condos mass” undoubtedly lucrative for the developer, but how risky for the future of the community. You did not do more exercise to look closely and identify an acceptable overview for everyone and which would be subject municipal actions in the coming years. Yet experiences exist in this direction to meet the same concerns as those of the municipality.
Now that the Quebec government intends to review its policy in relation to the flood zones, instead of going to apply to be the exception to the rule, it might be time to make some cautious steps towards your constituents and take over the development of your municipality with a more open attitude, more respectful of what it is fundamentally and inclusive ideas that take place there. You have the opportunity to become the elect of everyone and not those of a single promoter. Instead abut you, why not open a real dialogue between all (young, old, businessmen, retirees, young families, etc.) that search for new avenues of development and that it is taking steps to of our ability, our pace and our resources? Why not look more seriously the grouping of municipalities around the lake?
North Hatley, as you often clamez and rightly, is a gem that should preserve the sheen leveraging as much of its strength as its constraints. This is visually a heritage in itself as too flashy interventions and irrelevant to its delicate water environment, his community and neighbourly founding cultures could quickly tarnish.
“Small is Beautiful” applies to his case perfectly. But “Small is Beautiful” is not synonymous with rejection of evolution, modernity and economic growth.
North Hatley needs to build a long-term vision and make room for any project that will go in the direction of a consensus of a real participatory democracy. North Hatley, like the rest of the planet, must enrol in this vision, fragility, protection and the involvement of its ecosystems, which luckily for their beauty, are the backbone of the economy of the village.
At the dawn of a next electoral event, is it conceivable that the City Council adopt concerted and responsible action with regard to the future?
Is it conceivable that elected regain control of an agenda they have consulted with their constituents and meet directly and unfiltered to the questions that will inevitably be passed on to them?
Is it conceivable that elected officials are truly mediators between all the interests and forces?
There is much to do here and there a relay to transmit to young people who see things in the light of other models and whose main concern will necessarily survive account the environment.
Democracy is not a heartbreaking game that must be played every four years. It is an exercise that is done daily, often in confrontation, in the search for compromise and respect ideas and differences.
Vincent Ranallo, North Hatley