The Editor,

I returned just in time to attend the Saturday morning 9:00A.M. Champlain Council meeting  responding  to Action Champlain’s February 13 request for funding their cause against the Colacem project.

I acknowledge members of council are entitled to their own opinion after due consideration on issues of importance as they pertain to the community in which they serve.

It is no secret that I support the aforementioned project. In the writer’s opinion, members who voted to support Action Champlain were looking to their future re-election prospects and expressing personnel emotions not based on evidence yet to be presented at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing in September 2018.

The one saving grace that evolved from council discussions was that only $50,000 would be the extent of support offered to Action Champlain. It was highlighted by council, that the township has spent $7000 and budgeted $15,000 for its participation in the OMB hearing as well as a 12.5% commitment of the counties portion for their participation in said hearing.

Congratulations to Councillors Gerry Miner, Marc Seguin and Pierre Perreault who opposed any funding for Action Champlain as it is not representative of the whole population of the township. These councillors are concerned with the township’s future budget requirements to fund infrastructure deficiencies, taxation levies, equipment replacements, etc. and not to mention the potential of opening the gates for other community groups that may approach council for financial support in the future.

My concern is this may be considered a local issue by some. However, global events such as those we hear about south of the border have potential effects here, too. Imagine, if we do not play NICE according to the demagogue in the oval office with  regards to the NAFTA negotiations, the question of tariffs (15 % on aluminium and 25 % on steel)  may impact a major industrial facility’s future in the community. Just saying, NOTHING is for SURE.

As another factor attributed to the continuing objection to Colacem by Action Champlain and their signage throughout the township and internet,  is the diminishing real estate activity in the area. An example, recently advertised by a realtor, (Feb. 22), indicated a property assessed by MPAC at $ 666,000 originally listed for $ 499,900 and is now reduced to $454,900.  Not the only property subject to price reductions or long-term  exposure to the market before being sold or removed from sale.

The Review’s (L. Sproule) Opinion (Feb. 21) entitled  “Small business, future of local economy is in your hands” speaks to the issues directly impacting our community.

Diversity of an economy encourages growth and prosperity. Stagnation encourages higher taxes and lowers property values.

When those campaigning for election or re-election come calling, PLEASE, PLEASE ask them to be specific on their vision of the community and its’ economic future and how that will be achieved.  It’s our RESPONSIBILITY AND WE GET WHAT WE DESERVE.

Jim Walsh, L’Orignal, Ontario.