You have to give Mayor Randy Hope some credit.
On a day cold enough to make a teenager pull his pants all the way up, the mayor met with two dozen of his contemporaries at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre (and, no, the D doesn’t stand for deficit) to plot strategy aimed at uniting the tag end of the province as a force to be reckoned with.
He could have been forgiven if he had just pulled the covers over his head and took a mental health day. The morning’s news confirmed that Target was pulling out of Chatham as part of its Canada-wide retreat back into the Excited States of America, the municipality had just been checked into the boards by news that the Plymouth Whalers chose to move to Flint, Mich., and the frozen in time Boardwalk on Thames project remained, well, frozen in time.
Instead, the mayor seemed genuinely exited about the possibility that his South Shores initiative was gaining some traction.
The aim of the meeting was to establish initiatives on a number of economic and social fronts. The idea is twofold – to gather the resources and ideas of the region and to leverage that knowledge to draw attention of senior levels of government.
With provincial and federal budget work underway and a federal election set for this year, the time is ripe for a united voice.
Lacking provincial clout and federal ministerial presence, the region needs to lobby as long and loud as it can for recognition and funding, if for no other reason than the fact every other jurisdiction is too.
This is the first step and it’s a welcome and needed one. The only guarantee is that if we don’t ask, we won’t get.
By the end of the session, there was plenty of information to be prepared, and, metaphorically, plenty of sticks to be sharpened.
A story posted on chathamvoice.com later that day even broke the news that the Whalers had plenty of good things to say about C-K, even if the team isn’t coming.
There have been worse days.