The open letter to the Solicitor General and Steven Clark published in the 44th edition of the NG Times by Kirk Albert angered me with its suggestion that JOG’s views and concerns are “on behalf of residents of the town of Kemptville and its surrounding Municipality of North Grenville”. The letter also refers to how “our community feels” about the EOCC, but I do not recall ever being asked about my feelings or concerns. The views stated in the letter are strictly those of the JOG, and to suggest that they reflect the entire community is presumptuous and disrespectful.
I also feel that it is inappropriate to request the Mayor to pressure the Province to alter its decision or to criticize her for not doing enough. It is not the role of the Mayor and Council to choose sides, but rather to consider and weigh the interests of the JOG and others opposed to the EOCC with those of the residents and stakeholders who support the initiative and the welfare of the community as a whole. Not an easy task.
I understand that there are potential benefits of face-to-face meetings, especially for large and complex projects such as this one. But given the current COVID precautions, I believe on-line sessions are a viable and effective substitute. And while some may be prevented from participating for technological reasons, it could be argued that transportation and mobility constraints may preclude individuals from being able to attend in-person meetings. Personally, at the moment, I would not feel comfortable attending a large gathering.
I found the November 17 on-line engagement session very informative and was impressed with the programs and services the facility is planning to make available to its inmates; it certainly cannot be referred to as a jail or prison. If Ali Veshkini and the SolGen are sincere about their willingness to work as a partner and not place any addition burden on municipal services or costs, I believe we should be encouraged to be one of the first communities in the Province to host such a state-of-the-art facility.