Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Former Councillor Says $5,000 For River Cleanup Was ‘A Bargain’ (June 1, 2017)

Re: River Cleanup Volunteer Received Thousands In Donations From Council Discretionary Funds

Former Councillor Says $5,000 For River Cleanup Was ‘A Bargain’ (June 1, 2017)

Dear Editor:

In the summer of 2012, Doug Snedden came to me and offered to volunteer to clean up the river. I jumped at the offer and contacted town staff and the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) to see if it was OK with them. They agreed and the town staff agreed to truck all of the garbage away.

I had a discretionary fund as a councillor of $1,200 so I gave him around $600 to offset some of his expenses and I convinced several other council members that it was a great cause and a very important project to support, so they did.

The discretionary fund was put in place to support local projects and events. I also supported other volunteer groups, like People First of Lanark Country, the Carletnon Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum and many others, so did we all. In the past, council encouraged volunteer organizations to apply for a grant of up to $1,500, to offset expenses on a project. It is true that most volunteers don’t get payment but some do. The Ocean Wave Fire Company is an example. Most of the firemen are volunteers but they are paid for every fire that they go to or meeting that they attend. I am a volunteer driver, but I am paid mileage and expenses. Volunteers are the heart of the community. We couldn’t operate without them.

Doug Snedden did the town a great service. He gave the town a gift of a clean river. I was proud to play a part of the project. The town staff couldn’t and wouldn’t have been able to do the project for health and safety reasons. I doubt that MVCA would take it on either. The only way to get it done now is to spend hundreds of thousands to hire specialists. That will never happen. We were given a great opportunity that will never be repeated now. However instigated, this political witch hunt has just killed the project. The $5,000 was a bargain.

Council needs to focus on the best interests of their customers—the taxpayers—by accomplishing tasks like, cleaning up the river, seniors housing, and working together as a team for the next year and a half, then worry about whether they will become mayor or even retain their seat. Enough is enough—get along. The outside world, all of the towns around, are looking in and it is not a pretty sight. Let’s make Carleton Place great again.

Gary Strike
Carleton Place