Chortling Foundation writer should write about white elephant

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by admin on June 24, 2010

The Editor,

I read with great amusement (Low Down, June 16 edition) the response of Bob Vandenberg to Peter MacGibbon’s three-part piece on what works well (and what does not) in community building.

Mr. Vandenberg argues that the Chelsea Foundation made extensive consultation prior to sticking Chelsea residents with the large bill. No doubt they did! But the real democratic principles apply when such an idea hits residents with what they have to non-voluntarily contribute through higher taxes.

And in that regard, Chelsea needed a referendum to resolve the issue. Prior foundation consultations were largely academic, since I doubt they laid out the vast sums that residents would have to pay. One would think that those advocating such a large centre -  if they truly believed in its importance – would be prepared to fund the entire endeavour through community events. In this regard, foundation proponents and our municipal council could learn a thing or two from Wakefield’s community centre.

As a “commentator,” I am not happy with the means through which we arrived at the result, and the outcome, and one would think that a responsive municipal government would have scaled back their plans to reflect the large minority who voted against it.

Mr. Vandenberg mentions that some believe the process was owned or pushed by municipal council or highjacked by an inner circle. I was one of the first to vote in the registry for the referendum, and while doing so mentioned to the official monitoring the event that he was going to have a busy day today. He chortled defiantly while rolling his eyes. Clearly aping his masters.
On the indoor rink, regardless of its need to cross-subsidize other matters, it might reveal that Chelsea residents don’t really want the other matters. And do we need to play hockey 12 months a year, or can we not content ourselves with the winter months to do so? We sporty types move with the seasons.
Mr. Vandenberg has his view of community, which drove his involvement in the Meredith Centre, but he should recognize that other Chelsea residents have other views of what a community is. And they should not be diminished by calling them “tall tales.” How arrogant.
One would think that being thousands of miles from Chelsea, Mr. Vandenberg would gain a wider perspective on this matter. If he is looking to apply his pen to tall tales, I suggest he write about the oversized white elephant that was so large it couldn’t find soil strong enough to come to rest upon.
Marc Legault

Cascades, Quebec