Open letter to the residents of Merrickville-Wolford


What is the art of communication?

The art of communication involves the transmission of information from one source to another to convey a specific message in order to elicit a desired reaction or result. Communications strategies and plans therefore focus on delivering messages effectively to obtain specific results.

Why and how a local government should communicate to its citizens?

Strong communication in local government creates trust in its citizens. … As the relationship builds between governments and citizens, over time, citizens will come to realize that their concerns matter. Community engagement keeps citizens informed on the projects that affect their taxes and their lives.

Did you know that on November 8, 2021 Council appointed a very deserving Mr. Steven Ireland as our new council member for Merrickville-Wolford. Unless you had the opportunity to listen live, via Utube, that day at 2 pm, the answer might be no. Not once has the Municipality acknowledged in a public form the newly appointed Mr. Ireland.  Not a mention on their Municipal Website and there has been no notices on our Community Board.  Why wait two weeks, when the minutes have been approved and posted, to inform residents of a newly appointed Council member representing Wolford Ward?

Did you know that the Municipality and Staff of Merrickville-Wolford decided to cancel the Santa Claus Parade this year and as stated by our Mayor in an email, “all future parades will not be organized by the Municipality/Fire Department or staff”? Not unless you asked around, would you know that there will be no Christmas Parade this year.  Again no mention on their Municipal Website, nor on their rarely used Facebook page, and there has been no notices on our Community Board.

Did you know that if you submit questions that pertain to the posted Agenda for a council meeting that includes a public question period, your questions, if read, are vetted and not read in their entirety. Did you also know that if you submit a letter, to be read at a Council meeting, that residents will not be provided a copy of that letter? How is this a forum for residents to ask questions? How is this open, transparent, full, frank or fair?

What are we left to assume?  That the transmission of this information was not important to residents? What else have they not communicated to residents? This does not instill trust, this does not help build relationships, and over time we come to realize that our concerns do not matter.

Respectfully submitted,
Katie Burnette-Dickie, resident




  1. Well said! The pervasiveness of keeping information out of the public eye by most of the existing Council and administration is very evident in many of the in camera decisions with little to no resulting reporting. Combine this with decisions made around the Council table being applied totally differently, with no subsequent reporting as to the changes , further contributes to the questions by many residents as to the effectiveness behind the use of our tax dollars. A change in culture is required.

  2. I am fully in agreement with you. As a “tax” paying citizen of Merrickville I am very concerned about this! I have many questions about this town, i don’t know what’s going on, not to mention the blatant disregard for any public opportunities for input. Towns don’t magically grow and flourish! They need “ full time” creative, hands on, proactive and dynamic efforts by all involved and absolutely without a doubt transparent, open leadership

  3. Well written. My latest exchange with the village involved two simple questions regarding enforcement of parking violations. After five emails exchanged, I received the answer to my questions, including sarcastic comments, thinly veiled threats and nonsensical justification of the bylaw officer’s ability to enforce. The communication issue is not the size of the village, it is the organizational culture towards it’s constituents. If we want a change then we have to vote in a new council and change the administration or investigate succession into another municipality.

  4. Comment for the commenter’s. Yves sounds like sour grapes, no? David…Merrickville was flourishing before you arrived I’m sure and Bruce stick to giving one star google reviews to local businesses as an ex member of the chamber of commerce.


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