Windsor businessman laments lack of political leadership

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The Windsor Fire Department's membership is derived of town and county residents. If West Hants follows through with plans to terminate its service with the WFD, the county firefighters will still be welcome to stay on in Windsor.

This letter is a lament. My dictionary defines lament as a passionate expression of grief.

What I am grieving is the lack of municipal leadership at a time when our community is sinking fast into economic stagnation and financial crisis.

Hantsport has already succumbed to economic reality.

Both Windsor and West Hants councils seem to be living in a fantasy world where they have the luxury of playing silly political games while the citizens bleed from too high taxes and a failure to recognize taxpayers have our backs to the wall too.

(If West Hants residents are crowing about lower taxes just wait until they have to finance the construction and operation of their new fire service and the higher insurance rates that service will bring.)

I would ask both councils to:

• Look at the empty stores on Gerrish Street, with more to come shortly.

• Look and listen to residents and local businesses struggling to pay the heavy burden of taxation.

• Look at the empty buildings in our industrial park.

It makes no difference whether you are a townie or live in the municipality — our futures are forever bound together and we will succeed or fail together. We can’t have a prosperous town without a prosperous county and vice versa.

The town crows about lower taxes. But they hope residents will forget about heavy, new taxes for sewer use recently imposed.

For years, municipalities hid behind rising assessments to mask the rising tax burdens on people. With the cap program, this has been blunted, but old habits die hard.

Windsor council talks about shared services. This is, in my view, a dodge. West Hants hasn’t and won’t pay for its fair share of services like the town pool, library or community centre. It simply won’t happen and the council must get over it. West Hants council, rather than show leadership on the issue of fairness, is locked into a selfish exercise of “what’s in it for me.”

West Hants council has taken the bizarre and unsupportable step to acquire its own fire service at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars. Like children, they are taking their ball and going home. This is the same group that paid $500,000 for a property appraised for $200,000. I have never seen a satisfactory explanation of why West Hants overpaid for this property. Taxpayers should be outraged. At the very least, the warden should explain where the taxpayer’s money went — who, specifically, received the proceeds from the sale and how the council can justify such an outrageous overpayment.

Are these the people you want overseeing construction and equipping of a fire department?

The province won’t likely step in and knock heads to get these councils to co-operate or perish. Politicians have enough problems of their own they don’t seek out and solve other’s problems.

If you ask 100 people in this area if we need one government here I am positive 98 people will say a resounding yes. So let’s get on with it.

What business would establish itself in this area when we are so badly governed by people more concerned about their own perks and power than the best interests of the residents?

So this is my lament. Windsor – West Hants is a tremendous place to live. We have great people and wonderful natural resources. Why, in this ideal setting, do we have a stagnating economy and out of control governments trying to spend our money in ways which make little sense?

I lament we can do little about this between elections. I have read the press quotes from the “leaders” involved and I can only say I am astonished to think our leaders think citizens are so stupid they will buy their feeble and unsupportable arguments.

I lament that I feel so betrayed by those in whom I placed my trust as municipal leaders.

Finally, I lament there seems to be an apathy among citizens, which will result in our leaders continuing to run around playing these silly games. It is somewhat ironic that I am tempted to use the phrase “the leaders are fiddling while Rome burns.” The irony lies in that we are dealing with fire services and the fact a fire set back development of this town many decades ago.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

 

Jim White,

Curry’s Corner

Organizations: West Hants council, Windsor council, Windsor Fire Department Province of Nova Scotia

Geographic location: Hants, Windsor, Gerrish Street Rome Hants County Windsor Fire Department West Hants Curry's Corner

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Recent comments

  • Rita Connolly
    May 26, 2014 - 11:28

    Jim White has hit the nail on the head. It seems our democratic process is not functioning not just in the issue of the fire service but also amalgamation and many other issues. Both councils are not working for their constituents but have their own agendas. Let's stop the silly childish games and try to save our sinking ship.

  • Bruce Horne
    May 22, 2014 - 23:42

    Vote

  • Rob Paul
    May 22, 2014 - 16:09

    Well said Jim, amazing how ridiculous this has become. It makes you wonder about the thought process or lack thereof.

  • David B
    May 21, 2014 - 00:22

    With our prime location and our close proximity to Halifax, the Avon Region has an incredible opportunity to work together, to share costs, to attract new business and to move this area many steps forward. Windsor, Hantsport and West Hants have all the required components except for one...that being the foresight, cooperation and innovative vision of a municipal council to put aside personal differences and to simply get the job done. Great letter Jim. In this economy, with the continued loss of businesses, with the tax pressures and the soon to be tax and insurance rate increases this local area now faces, the recent decisions being made by this council simply defy all logic. If West Hants councillors think local residents are going to stand by and simply watch this financial insanity continue, then you're out of touch with reality. This is truly embarrassing to watch.

  • Trevor
    May 20, 2014 - 21:43

    Great article. Not that long ago I was very reluctant to the idea of amalgamation with the Town of Windsor and/or the Town of Hantsport, worried about taking on the debt of others. Now after watching West Hants Council's disregard for the taxpayers finances, and safety, maybe it should be West Hants that dissolves and becomes part of Kings, or better yet, East Hants. These municipalities seem to have more respect for their citizens and businesses. Take East Hants' slogan: Growth, we Live it. What is West Hants' slogan? Growth, we Stunt it.

  • tony schofield
    May 20, 2014 - 19:14

    ok didnt the goverment pay way to much for the land that avonview high school was built on so that kind of stuff happens all the time so talking about how much they paid for that land is not going to go any where. this town is dying because it cost to much to do buiness here . the town is turning into a seniors complex. Anybody ever notice how many homes are for sale in the town of windsor. no wonder the municipality wants to break away from windsor wake up town council.

  • Reid & Debbie Swinamer
    May 20, 2014 - 18:16

    We agree 110 % with Jim White. Something has to be done to get this mess straightened out. The WFD has been doing a great job for the past 60 years why mess with the way things are done now. We are already taxed to death, when is it going to stop.

  • Pam
    May 20, 2014 - 13:12

    There isn't an apathy among the citizens of West Hants. We presented a petition that the Council rejected. We have gone to meeting and expressed our views but the Councillors have their own axe to grind. Help.

  • Karmen Brison
    May 20, 2014 - 10:14

    Jim I lament that your laments may be correct. However I do believe there are intelligent and inform citizens in this municipality, that just can't permit this Council to persist in making poor choices and costing said citizens increases in their taxes due to the Council inconsiderate and almost uneducated choices. I am hopeful that the people of the town of Windsor and West Hants Municipality will take enough interest in these matters and force this current Council to act responsibly. Karmen

  • Timothy Pitts
    May 20, 2014 - 10:09

    I am at present lot owner, soon to be a full time resident of Falls Lake West. I have been occasionally following the story of Windsor/West Hants. I have noticed several times the comment" what can we do" and I wonder what would the councillors think of residents constantly protesting in front of their homes, at the place of work? Some say there is nothing that can be done until next election but when you look at how many others in the world handle their problems...look at the protesting that went on in Quebec over higher student tuition. It is not a question of "what can we do" it is a question of "what are we willing to do" I am not familiar with the situation about the land purchase but if they paid 1.5 times the evaluated price then the law needs to be brought in to this if the council is unwilling to disclose the information.

  • Karen
    May 20, 2014 - 10:06

    Now we need to know what the residents can do as a group to get the change we need.

  • Marilyn Greenwood
    May 20, 2014 - 09:39

    Can a vote of no confidence be used in municipal government?

  • Citizen
    May 20, 2014 - 09:39

    Hear hear! Our councillors could do positive things for our area but apparently don't want to. Instead of helping they are hurting.

  • Wanda Donelle
    May 20, 2014 - 09:30

    Once again Jim your words reflect the feelings of the majority of the citizens of Windsor West Hants. Thank you . I do not know how this can be resolved but the public needs to keep this issue in the front pages and stay vocal in our opposition to the decision by WHC.

  • judy orde
    May 20, 2014 - 09:15

    Great Article Mr. White. We need folks like you to run our affairs for us. Please think about it for the next election.

  • Laura
    May 20, 2014 - 09:09

    Well said, this article sum's up thought's of many. Many people in this community are in aw of this decision. So sad how ego's and childish adult's are to blame for this horrible decision.

  • Rae Casey
    May 20, 2014 - 08:53

    Great article! I fully agree.