Rally ‘round to help a family in distress

left of their home was a pile of smouldering rubble. All weekend, people drove by the ruins in disbelief wondering how quickly life can sometimes spin out of control. We want each and every one of those involved to know their efforts were appreciated. We, who live in the Clarence-Rockland’s rural areas, should also be reminded that we have at our disposal emergency personnel and services often only found in large cities. Finally, we call upon the generosity of the Clarence-Rockland community to assist this family in coming months so they are not alone facing the difficulties ahead. A fund is being set-up to accept donations and those details will be released shortly.

Around 1 a.m., on Saturday January 5, a fire at 3347 Old Highway 17 forced our neigh- bours, Debbie Kelly and Carey Howse and their two children, ages 10 and 14, from their home into the frigid cold with nothing more than their lives, their pyjamas and their two pets. A call was placed to 911 and within minutes emergency help arrived. While neighbours gathered to try and console the family, the Clarence-Rockland Fire Department, dozens of volunteer firefighters, the O.P.P., the paramedics, and the local community support group got busy. Firefighting equipment strategically posted while water had to be brought in from a dis- tance away to fight the flames hundreds of yards away from the main road. By 6 a.m., in spite of a valiant effort on the part of the entire firefighting team, all that was It is clear that the city fathers of Clarence-Rockland lack any real vision for the little things that make a community work; things that are, relatively speaking, low cost but have a posi- tive impact on a community, like bicycle paths, children’s parks and an off-leash dog park, for example. With respect to the latter, this municipality is certainly not dog friendly. At a recent Council meeting, a proposal to establish an off-leash dog park was put be- fore Council. Council’s response was to pass a motion that on the one hand accepted the mandate of its own Off Leash Dog Park Advisory Committee and then, incredibly, rejected any further investigation of the idea because it had no funds. So what then, is its Advisory Committee supposed to advise about? If it weren’t so sad it would be funny that the irony of this situation appears to be lost on this Council. It rejected outright any discussions with Brigil Construction, a company that might have allowed the city to use a parcel of land at the corner of St. Jean and Poupart streets as an off-leash park had the city bothered to ask. Talk about kicking a gift horse in the mouth! An opportunity lost because of a few Council members who are out of touch with basic community needs. Council did not even bother to direct its own advisory committee to investigate the mat- ter further and to proceed with this initiative on condition that they raise their own funds to cover costs such as fencing and signage. Seems like a no-brainer, right? This would have cost the city nothing and shown some moral support for the project. It is this lack of vi- sion and strategic thinking that worries me most. Apart from the two Councillors who sup- ported the original initiative (Councillor Payer, Ward 3 and Councillor Serurrier, Ward 4), the only conclusion one can draw is that the remaining Council members just don’t have the foresight to see what most progressive communities have long understood - the positive role these kinds of relatively low cost initiatives can play for everyone in a community. How sad is it that on the dog park initiative, the level of debate by our elected leaders, the people who are supposed to be “visionary thinkers” on important issues, sinks to Council- lors asking inane questions such as“How do you knowwhose dog poop you will be picking up?” and“Why don’t you just put an electric collar on your dog and keep him in your yard?”

Ben and Debbie Pelletier Clarence Point

Clarence-Rockland, a not-so-dog-friendly community

So much for informed, considered debate, and strategic thinking. Not the kind of high level thinking one expects from those in the seats of power. Clarence-Rockland is a municipality that wants to become a city but can’t seem to free itself from the shackles of the small village mentality it is locked into, thanks to many of its elected officials. It’s a village that does indeed have lots of growing up to do. We expect and deserve a lot more from our elected officials. They are supposed to be the visionaries. Judging by how they handle the little things that come forward on their agendas, the big things are not looking very promising. They are supposed to listen to and care about our needs yet I see little evidence of this since moving here two years ago. In fact, I have seen little evidence of any real vision by this Council. They seem to operate on the basis of its “my way or the highway”. This must change. Council does have the right to ignore basic requests from its citizenry, even when they cost little or nothing. That is after all what democracy is all about. But democracy also in- cludes our rights to have our voices heard. I am not sure if Council realizes what a powerful force the “dog lobby” in this municipality has the potential to become, but they may be about to find out before the next election. We pay huge taxes and get very little in return, unless you count the potholed roads. As it stands, our municipality still has no off-leash dog park. A simple, no-cost temporary solution would have been to allow dog owners to use a space such as the Dr. Corbeil park without fear of being ticketed. But I won’t hold my breath that this Council will be visionary enough to see this through, so it may be some time before we become a more pet friendly community. J’ai bien connu Monseigneur Plourde et j’ai pleuré en apprenant à la messe des Rois di- manche dernier son Grand Départ de la veille. Il était à mon sens le dernier roi de l’Église d’Ottawa. Il a connu deux successeurs mais, comme tel, il était irremplaçable. Il émanait de toute sa personne un caractère de noblesse, un sentiment de dignité inné. Et son timbre d’orateur modèle résonne toujours à mes oreilles. Jeune professeur de français dans les collèges classiques, je m’intéressais à la rhétorique et lorsque Son Excellence Monseigneur Joseph-Aurèle Plourde fut intronisé au siège épis- copal de l’archidiocèse d’Ottawa le 22 février 1967, je n’avais encore que 25 ans. Je l’ai bientôt pris comme modèle et, maintenant septuagénaire, je m’inspire toujours de ses al- lures de tribun. Monseigneur Plourde était un grand communicateur, peut-être moins remarquable sur un plan plus intimiste mais toujours à son meilleur devant les foules. Homme d’Évangile et prédicateur hors pair, il possédait à fond l’art du discours qu’il savait construire et livrer. Il connaissait l’art de capter l’attention dès le départ en illustrant son propos de vivants exemples et l’art de maintenir l’intérêt en variant le ton et en utilisant à fond ce riche tim- bre qui le servait si bien. Et ses péroraisons laissaient ample matière à réflexion. Ce grand prélat pouvait avec aplomb raccrocher une page d’Évangile à une tranche concrète de vie. Par la mémoire, il continuera à nous inspirer. Un orateur modèle Robert Gadoua Rockland


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