In his letter to the North Grenville Times (Some thoughts on “We are the ones we’re waiting for” – Part 1, Sept. 12, 2018), Stephen Hammond warns readers to be “wary of people who claim to want to improve the community with voluntary community participation, but then clamour for government funding.” Since Mr. Hammond references an article I wrote on behalf of the Old Town Kemptville BIA, he must be referring to me. I’m afraid he missed the point of my article entirely.
Rather than suggesting that the wishlist of ideas contained in the article be funded by tax revenue, my suggestion was that imaginative, positive thinking community members could effect change by relying primarily on themselves, rather than government-driven programs or philanthropy.
A perfect example of this kind of community empowerment is the construction of the gazebo in Maplewood Park, Oxford Mills. Tired of waiting for the Municipality to replace the previous gazebo, the community took the “bull by the horns”, plowed through the red tape involved, and built a new gazebo, without using a single taxpayer dollar to do it.
I agree with Mr. Hammond that money is important and we should use public funds wisely. Council and municipal staff are obligated to take care of our needs first and foremost, but, when citizens dream of improving their community and are willing to volunteer their time and treasure, shouldn’t their first response be “why not, how can we help?”.