Here we go again


by Councillor John Barclay

This article was going to be about roundabouts including the new roundabouts planned for Hwy 43. How to properly navigate a roundabout seems to be a perennial problem and a serious safety concern for both pedestrians and cyclists. Weeks ago I’d volunteered to use this free article space (thanks NG Times) to write about, amongst other things, how the designs for Leeds and Grenville County roundabouts have matured to address active transportation facilities. How these plans might include additional signage, safety islands, offset crosswalks, and/or PXO style crossings.

Writing about roundabouts was my plan. Then everything changed – except the title of this article, ironically.

The 1998 Ice Storm was a defining moment for this community. I know the experience helped shape and create North Grenville’s identity as a generous and caring community. Now we’re again faced with an emergency; a very aggressive and deadly global pandemic. I thought to ask a number of people who had survived the Ice Storm what the similarities were, if any. “What are some of things that makes the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic crisis the same as the catastrophic 1998 Ice Storm over 20 years ago?”

Here are some of the responses (unattributed); you may see yourself reflected in some of these comments:

Ellen Grove: “.. a catastrophic event like this brings out the best (and the worst) in people – Some folks step up to make sure that the needs of others in the community are met, while others become very self-absorbed and worry/gripe primarily about their own needs.”

Mitch Bloom: ” Then it was about reaching out to others, now it is about keeping people apart. Yet the core moments like this remain about looking out for one another. In that way it feels the same.”

Deb Wilson: “The Ice Storm was confined to an area. We knew that power would be restored. It will take a long time to recover, economically, socially, mentally, and physically (health wise) from the Coronavirus. We don’t know what is ahead “

In the past 20 years or so, many new residents have settled here. They did not endure the same experience as long time residents during the Ice Storm but I contend our identity as a generous and caring community has only been strengthened by recent residents who recognize and affirm what North Grenville’s “small town feel” really means.

Jamie Beavis: “I’m continually amazed by the number people offering to help others even though there’s no previous personal connections”

Councillor Doreen O’Sullivan: “..  we were all in it together and the support of and caring for each other was a lasting impression of the experience. We created some wonderful memories, became more resilient and innovative. I see the same thing happening now”

In North Grenville we understand the need for community. We remember how to care for one another. As Mayor Peckford wrote recently, “These are trying and challenging times, which demand the best of us. We have a long history of enduring crises together and coming out stronger. This one will be no different”.

Here we go again.

Thanks to COVID, you can no longer drop by to one of my “Talk To Me Tuesday” meet and greet sessions. You can however contact me by phone (613-322-8132) and by email ([email protected]).



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