Twig for the trees

Op-ed

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Perhaps some things are bound never to change. North Grenville Council being accused of rubber stamping property development requests is a fine example. I sympathize with those who do not want their beautiful views to be compromised, or North Grenville’s beautiful natural environment to be paved over. However, hypocrisy shines brightly in many of those who come before Council to complain about a new development proposal. 

There are those who have earned the right to complain. Those with decades of history living in Kemptville’s downtown, for example, can certainly complain about a multi-unit residential building that threatens to bring dangerous traffic flows and deal a potential aesthetic blow to an area rich in history and natural charm. Then there are those who really have no business complaining at all. Prime example – those currently living in brand new subdivisions who complain about new subdivisions being built nearby. 

Property developers seem to be vilified by a lot of North Grenville locals. They are viewed as the face of corporate evil, the personification of the pursuit of wealth no matter who must be trampled to achieve it. And yet… where would Kemptville be without new developments? Yes, we can refer back to those long standing residents of 30-40 years who have every right to argue that the tiny, quaint town they once knew is no longer recognizable. Such folks had no say in what Kemptville grew to become, and I respectfully bow in response to any complaints they may level. 

What about someone who just came to Kemptville a few years ago? Kemptville’s population has grown significantly in recent years, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. Do these newcomers have a right to complain? Of course, complaining is indeed a constitutionally protected right. Is such complaining hypocritical? Also, yes. 

I have said it time and time again – Kemptville is charming. Hundreds and hundreds of Kemptville residents live in newer subdivisions, meaning that they came to town and settled in a home on newly developed land to claim their piece of the charming pie. Imagine doing so, and then showing up to a Council meeting a few years later to express a shocked and entitled opinion that any further development of the land is morally reprehensible. Imagine being fine with the new development that gave you an otherwise unlikely opportunity to settle in a coveted community, only to then argue that no one else should get that chance. 

Many have concerns about the forests around Kemptville being destroyed for development, but at the same time, they are failing to see the forest for the tiny twig that represents their small piece of North Grenville. Without development in the last few decades, the majority of those who currently call Kemptville home would be living somewhere else. 

There is a way to ensure aesthetic quality and a respect for the natural environment when developing new residential neighbourhoods. This process involves consulting countless municipal departments and other key players. This process already happens for each new development in North Grenville. To think that the only work that happens to make these decisions is happening in a 15-minute time window in a Council meeting is just plain ignorant. 

If you want to be entitled to a view of a forest or a quaint open field, then you better be prepared to buy a forest or a field. You get what you pay for. Developers don’t owe you a massive, picturesque backyard when you paid for a 0.3 acre lot with city-esque amenities. Kemptville is growing. It’s time that our capacity for sharing our community with others grew as well.

2 COMMENTS

  1. What a garbage Op-ed from a tone deaf non-resident. Developers may not “owe” us anything, but council certainly does. They are elected to represent the residents of this municipality, not the developer who wants nothing but a maximization of profit.

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