by Deron Johnston
It’s finally over. Gazebogate appears to have ended with what could be best described as a whimper. At the Council meeting of May 8, North Grenville Council unanimously voted in support of granting permission to the Oxford Mills Community Association to build a gazebo in Maplewood Park in Oxford Mills.
After the verdict was rendered, no member of Council made any statements or made any comments about the two year saga. There was only one member of the OMCA present to even hear the decision. The whole thing just seemed anticlimactic. It was as if everyone decided that too much energy (and column inches) had already been expended on this and that it was just time to move on.
It’s difficult to comprehend how this took two years. A community group steps forward to give the Municipality of North Grenville a gift worth thousands of dollars and it took Council two years to accept it. The details of what’s happened over the past two years have been discussed many times. So, rather than re-hash all of it, let’s just move forward and on to more important things (like flagpoles).
Make no mistake, there’s still work to be done. It would be great if residents could get behind the OMCA and help them raise the money they need to get the gazebo built and in place, for Canada Day. The OMCA is presently preparing an online fundraising campaign (watch for that when it’s announced) or if you wanted to contribute to their fundraising now, you can send a cheque to: “OMCA” at their mailing address: “100 Maplewood Avenue, Oxford Mills, ON, K0G 1S0”. Not to be forgotten, the best part of big projects like this is celebrating when the job is finally done. Why not drop in to Maplewood Park in Oxford Mills on Canada Day and share in the celebrations?
There’s a great learning opportunity here about how the municipality and community groups can work together in the future on these types of projects. Sitting down at a table together (as many times as necessary) to communicate expectations, formulate a specific plan (with actionable steps, appropriate deadlines and specific responsibilities etc.) and share in the accountability for the project, sounds like a better route to follow the next time around. I have no doubt in my mind that some great things could be accomplished in North Grenville through this type of cooperation. So….who’s next?