Reader says township should learn from pandemic before seeking growth

The Current prints this letter from a seasonal resident of Madawaska Valley who expresses concerns about local municipal response to the pandemic.

Dear Editor,

My husband and I care very much about our Madawaska Valley community – our friends and neighbours and family – so we are staying away for the time being. Normally, we would be up for Easter Weekend so we could spend time with my parents who are year-round residents, but that would be irresponsible this year. It’s hard – we haven’t seen them since Christmas. They are of the age that it could have been our last Christmas together. However, we understand the risk and the fear and the difficulties being experienced – we are experiencing the same here in the city – do not think that it is easier here. At some point, however, we likely will arrive at our cottage. Hopefully in late May or June when you are better prepared for us (i.e. the normal summer influx). We would only do so responsibly – i.e. arrive healthy, arrive with our own supplies, not stop on the way, and continue to isolate and not go back-and-forth. We would be staying. This, of course, is dependent on what happens between now and then.

Something that really concerns me, though, is that the Township currently cannot handle the year-round population and are saying they can’t handle the influx of the seasonal residents at this time. So, if you can’t handle what you have right now (in April), seems to me that any further residential development in the Township may be a bad idea.

Yes, we are in extraordinary circumstances right now but, the entire world – every single day – faces the potential for disaster of all kinds – tornadoes, floods, forest fires, power outages, etc. Today, it happens to be a pandemic. Any natural or man-made disaster in the future could have the same strains on the health care system and the supply chain, just as we are experiencing now.

If you are asking current property owners to consider staying away at this time because you cannot handle them, then how can you responsibly consider further residential development and a further increase in population – seasonal or year-round? How can you allow for more to come when you can’t manage who you already have? My thoughts are that the Township should either stop any further residential and/or seasonal development or prepare to handle it – unless you want to be completely overwhelmed in the future. You can’t just keep telling people to stay away or leave when times are bad. We’re in this together. Let’s learn from what is happening right now.

Stay safe, Everyone.

Tania Free

 

One Comment

  1. Dan Olshen

    Tania:
    Thanks for being a responsible and civic minded citizen and staying home this Easter long weekend versus being a potential carrier of the virus. The MV does not need the reputation of Bobcaygeon or the melee at Buckhorn at this junction of time. Your responsible actions contrast with certain airheads who opine that if it is legal (versus wise) – just do it – as illustrated in their comments against the petition by “The Friends of the MV Watershed” which appeared in the Current about a week ago.
    One notes that this grouping arrived here to their seasonal cottage despite the pleas of the 6 local municipalities and Premier Ford to stay home and stop the spread of this virus which is peaking in Ontario this weekend. Our medical facility is not equipped to handle a surge of Covivd-19 here unless the CEO of the St. Francis Hospital states otherwise. Thus far, the CEO has been silent on this issue for rationale I cannot comprehend.
    One can debate your perspective on residential development as being equivalent to economic development. However, I will not get into this debate at the present time as safety is our primary concern now BUT wish to add the following.
    IMO: The derivatives on the tax base for the municipality here are about 30% of the municipal residential taxes going to say the “Twp. of the MV”, and approx. 70% going to other jurisdictions and special agencies (i.e. OPP) remote from the fiscal control of the Twp. Of MV.
    We need a binary component to economic development here, i.e. 4 seasonal Commercial Tourism development, which provides long term sustainable employment especially to our MVDHS graduates, and building more residences in the MV alone – does not meet this criteria.
    Again, thanks for understanding the challenging times we are in, and doing your part to flatten the Covid-19 curves and mitigating its spread in the very vulnerable MV.

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