They can’t hear you


no bike lanes

The mass resignation of the active communities’ steering committee last week is a sign of a growing rift between Chatham-Kent Council and those it represents.

The committee quit following council’s decision not to add bicycle lanes along a portion of McNaughton Avenue West.

While there were delegations for and against the bike lanes, the recommendation by the committee council had tasked with studying the issue had little or no effect.

Bike lane supporters make a valid point when they say the decision flies in the face of the municipality’s stated goal of promoting healthy activity.

It would easy to dismiss the committee members’ action as spiteful, but that would be an oversimplification. Many of the committee members have been active in other civic areas and know that not everyone gets what they want.

This appears to go deeper. It’s not so much a question of not getting what they want, but rather feeling as if their input has little or no value.

Taken alone, it may seem insignificant, but added to other issues of late, a pattern begins to emerge.

In the ongoing woodlot issue, most community voices called for some form of action.

In the end, petitions signed by thousands of residents – including hundreds of farmers – plus Chatham-Kent’s low tree cover rate and the fact that it is one of only two municipalities in the region without a bylaw meant nothing compared to landowners who want to clear woodlots without regard to regulation.

Recently when an option appeared to consider cutting policing costs by taking even the most elementary step of examining OPP service, the idea didn’t get off the ground.

Again, the only voices in support of not listening seem to come from those with a vested interest in the status quo.

Council’s lack of consistency is coming back to bite it squarely in its mandate.

Council claimed it doesn’t have the money to work on bike lanes because it has to deal with crumbling infrastructure.

Council refuses to examine ways to cut policing costs, and funds questionable donations.

Council has a policy to promote a healthy community.

Council allows clear cutting.

Council values public opinion.

Council listens to … whom, exactly?




  1. This a lame duck council, They are all worried about reelection, not about the whole community. They talk C-K but the reality is not the best for C-K but the best for whomever has their ear in their ward.

  2. Love those broad brushes Michael. If re-election had been my priority, I would have likely voted FOR an OPP costing and AGAINST a forest bylaw.

  3. Art Stirling There are always exceptions, and it was abroad brush, but we certainly seem to be going nowhere. "All" was probably the wrong word.

  4. My sole focus as always is what I believe is best for CK. As I said last term during the Capitol Theatre debate, I didn't run for Council to be re-elected, I ran to make a difference. The public can judge me on whether I did or not.

  5. Art Stirling My sense of frustration is from a sense that we lack leadership, or that the leaders we have are pulling frantically in different directions. I drive around Wallaceburg and see help wanted signs everywhere, all wanting skilled trades, and yet we have huge unemployment. What is wrong with the the feds, the province, the educators? something is not happening that should be happening. Instead of trying to get more employers to move to C-K, and having them get frustrated by not getting trained workers, maybe we should be seeing how we can help satisfy the needs of the employers we have. Sorry, feeling very frustrated at the moment, and I don't know how you keep your sanity being in the middle of it all.

    The general corruption in government we see seemingly everywhere is not helping either. I am at the "pox on all their houses" stage.

  6. Sometimes I think it is not that "they can't hear you" but the fact that "they just don't want to hear you"! In regards to the tree issue a few have had their minds made up for decades and their reasons are skewed in so many ways. Times have changed, in some cases Councilors have NOT. Some have sat in their seats for 25+ years and their views are still the same as 25+years ago. Well the world has changed drastically over the past 25 years and we as society and as a community must continue to adapt to these changes. This time the issue is preserving what little forest cover we have left for endless reasons.

  7. Frank, This is not! against the farming community…per say…It's about the corporates taking over this community. Small farms are not the ones destroying the woodlots!, But, I know that you know that 🙂

  8. I am going to quote the last line of an article in the Ridgetown Independent News from yesterday. I have been waiting for this statement to come out publicly. From the start of the woodlot issue, I have been saying that the anti-bylaw crowd is infiltrated with Ontario Landowner Association ideals. The OLA opposes all government involvement on property and stands against any regulation that might "infringe" on property rights. I invite everyone to research their website and their constitution which used to be online. The website was called Rural Revolution and the preamble to the constitution makes the Communist Party of Canada look reasonable.

    Here's the quote from the Indy News:

    "The KFA, OFA and CFFO support and applaud the opportunity to develop and manage a policy direction as an alternative to regulation.

    This opportunity can set the stage as an alternative to regulation and litigation and will be a first for the farming community and government within Ontario. Please take advantage of the services offered and work with us to successfully set this precedent."

    The last line is the most important. The OLA quacks are trying to set a precedent in CK that they can use to oppose regulations that have been in place all across the province for up to or more than 30 years. So in order to appease a few farmers, CK has fallen right into the hands of the OLA/libertarian/Government Back Off crowd. Please research this group and what they stand for, it's a little discouraging to see that our council has backed the wishes of this fringe group against the wishes of the MAJORITY of their citizens.

  9. Here is a quote from the OLA Founding Declaration:
    "Throughout human History there are eras when every society experiences the darkness of injustice and the long shadows of oppression blanket the landscape. During these periods, collective oppression supplants individual liberty; coercion, intimidation, and wrongdoing become the lawful exercise of authority, and the brightness of prosperity and freedom is but a dim reminder to a bountiful past. Collective security and bestowed privileges become the hands that prey upon the unsuspecting common people and enslave them by deceptively removing their freedom to own, use, and enjoy the fruits of their industry: their private property. It is only when common people rise up and shine the light of knowledge into the deep recesses and crevices of unlawful authority does prosperity reign once again."

    Long shadows of oppression? Certainly not from the shade of the forests…

  10. so many community groups demanding to do so much with other peoples money. seems no one ever stops to consider what the person who is being forced to pay thinks. with the tree bylaw decision and now the bike lanes, its obvious who the self righteous wealth redistributors are. theyre the ones who just got a dose of democracy crammed down their hole and are whining and complaining that democarcy is broken. of course people like msyelf have been saying that too but when your against teh GEA, public servnat unions, teachers unions, etc. your told that the system is working just fine.
    well suck it up ladies. for once, decisions were made that respected private property and the wallets of the taxpayer. score 2 for the good guys.

  11. i agree. include in your list the colours of all public and private unions to whom our labour favouring politicians prefer along with the turbine and solar companies of their choice.


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