Cornwall Ontario – 2010 Editorial – Vision at a Critical Time – December 26, 2009

Vision is a funny thing.    Many times there is no “right” vision; simply what a person or group wants.     I’ve lived in Cornwall Ontario now for six years.   It’s been an interesting experience.

Cornwall is a very diverse community; and it’s a community in change.   I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many people rotate through a non-military town as this city.  While the population hovers around 45,000 people there are many seniors that move to our city as well as other people.

The perception and that shared with me by many others is that Cornwall for decades if not longer was a closed shop.   IE it was a tightly held power base that  revolved around its industrial industries.

Well that’s changed, and as older generations recede, and new blood and money floods in the Post-Domtar Cornwall faces many challenges, but also is creating many opportunities.   It’s as though Cornwall has the potential to be an open palette.

This year I crossed swords over the Glengarry Condo Conversion project.    My vision is that such a large block of apartments located in the center of the city should not be converted to condos.

My vision is that in ten to fifteen years those condos will create pressure on residents who need to rent apartmentsforcing many who are on disability or seniors to have to move to the edges of town with limited mobility and transportation options.  Also, even though those apartments were not lower income housings those still needing to rent apartments will be renting up the available pool and pushing up rents in the process.

Now many had a different vision.   That’s democracy in action.  You can debate, vote, and argue, but in the end the people speak and actions happen.

I see Montreal Road turning into a mini Westboro (Westboro being an area in Ottawa that has been gentrified) with many of the older buildings being rebuilt and modernized.    I’m hoping the Domtar property or parts of it become a dynamic waterfront that draws thousands of people to shop and visit our city.

I see the bridge crisis getting resolved, and hopefully Akwesasne playing a larger role with Cornwall to evolve the region and help everyone benefit.

I see a City management and government that welcomes even more business and industry to Cornwall especially after our airport grows.

There is so much potential for our city.   It’s ours to build and grow and this opportunity is something that doesn’t exist in most cities across Canada.   I don’t want Cornwall to be another Kingston.   Not that there’s anything wrong with Kingston, but I see too many in our City trying to imitate what seems to be working for that city.

I want Cornwall to develop a true “Buy & Spend” local policy.  I don’t want the city to be in debt if it can be avoided or unless in case of emergency.  I want all of Ontario to be jealous about how well run and how beautiful our city is.

Cornwall has a flavor and brand all of its own which we need to develop and grow.  That flavor are its people, and how we do things here.   Change sometimes isn’t good.  Evolution is.   And you can grow and evolve without losing your flavor if you have vision and take care.

This is my vision for Cornwall.   What’s yours?

Jamie Gilcig – Editor – The Cornwall Free News wishing everyone a safe and healthy 2010

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  1. 1. And when do you see the bridge crisis being resolved?
    2. You say you see Akwesasne playing a larger role to evolve the region and help everyone benefit. Do we really want this? What will they teach us? What do they know? They can’t even resolve a border issue!

  2. Author

    Within 2-3 years – Yes we do want Akwesasne to work with Cornwall; especially when it comes to tourism. The border issue is not Akwesasne’s fault. It’s 99.9% on the shoulders of Stephen Harper.

  3. Thats your opinion. You have a right to your opinion. I would fight to the death to uphold your right to your opinion. Though I don’t necessarily agree with your opinion!

  4. Whether we agree or disagree … we must talk about a vision for Cornwall. A vison talks about a future and not just the past.

  5. Hey Jamie, your article sounds an awfull lot like a campaign speech, a “Liberal” campaign speech.

  6. Author

    Now Reg there is no party affiliation in Civic Politics here in Cornwall. People choose to serve without partisanship of any kind.

  7. Your “vision” is perhaps “wishful thinking” in a city that is run by non-residents. We will do well if we can simply avoid becoming the detritus of slumlords.

    A glistening $30 million sports palace (and its debt burden) isn’t helpful to Cornwall residents struggling to pay taxes and utilities and improve homes in a city crisscrossed by some of the poorest housing stock around. And brand new ice rinks don’t serve the children of families with the distinction of being among the the lowest income earners in the province.

    And not content with leaving common folk to their crumbling surroundings, the slumlords are even marketing land for development that’s in worse shape than the arena site. Some out of town sucker will be stuck with a commercial property even closer to Big Ben dump runoff, chemical handling, tainted air and property fronting on the wrong side of the tracks. Thanks to the cooperation of city planners and very, very close real estate associates (the kind that sit in on closed city meetings, with the opportunity to work both sides of the deal).

    And while there may be no party affilition in Cornwall politics, it has certainly been a party for the political movers and shakers, and their friends… all at our expence.

    So take of the rose tinted glasses and put city governance under a magnifying glass instead.

  8. Author

    Trent it’s really easy to throw darts from anonymity the way that you do. Perhaps you’d achieve a bit more if you stepped out of the shadows and tried to make change? I’d prefer to suggest that the glass is half full rather than half empty. Is Cornwall perfect? No, but it’s not rose tinted glasses that makes me appreciate the positives in Cornwall compared to the negatives in other cities like Montreal.

    There’s a world of opportunity in Cornwall; but to make change you have to be a part of change.

  9. As I have said before, I don’t wish my person to become a distraction from any issue I bring forward, and I wouldn’t want my sources of information to be identified or guessed at by association.

    I use my legal name in official dealings with government and other agencies, because these agencies tend to follow a decorum and process that avoids personality. For a forum such as this, a pseudonym is more appropriate; I merely wish to present information and opinion without a protracted debate or personal sniping.

    Now please use your own sources of information and find whether from late summer of 2007, anyone worked both sides of real estate deals in Cornwall and were in attendance at closed city meetings, and privy to information that would give financial advantage (I am satisfied of the situation after discussion with, 1 independant business person, 1 city committee member and 1 councillor).

    A little further digging, and you may find how lucrative the business transactions were and continue to be (for all concerned). The only mystery is why the business people that are losing out don’t band together and end it.

    As for your “out of the shadows” comment. I deal openly and in the light of day with credible authorities and agencies. The law is not always quick to act, and justice is a bit slow, but it is coming together.

  10. Visions are nice but if they are not shared mutually by Cornwall’s youth/young adults population (our future), then it is pointless. Because it’s our youth in which we will be giving our city to. They are to inherit our debts and our city councils stupid decisions. My vision of Cornwall, would be to make it a young city at heart where it evolves around today’s younger generations (ages 17 to 30yrs). Cornwall is turning into a retirement city, and that is unacceptable. Why do all the old age homes have to be situated in Cornwall? Don’t get me wrong I don’t have anything against seniors, I just find the young to old ratio is not balanced. Growing up as a kid in the early 90’s, I remember seeing Pitt Street full of old run down buildings. Today Pitt Street has been given a new face lift and I think it looks great. Montreal Road has also improved. I also noticed there are more activities and things in Cornwall for small children to do. But it seems that teens and young adults have nothing better to do than smoke weed, get pregnant, and go to bars, the smarter versions leave Cornwall for better employment and bettering their post secondary education. Therefore I strongly recommend that Cornwall builds a state of the art University, to keep our youth here instead of losing another future contributer of Cornwall society to say.. Ottawa or Kingston. I find there is too much talk in this city and not enough action, and it seems that our present and past city councils have no common sense, based upon there decision making abilities. There has been talk of tearing the Seaway International Bridge down for years, they have already aquired the proper funding to build a new one, and a mock scale of the new low level bridge has only been on display in our library for the past 3-4yrs! So.. what the hell is the hold up? Tear the god damn thing down already. Speaking of eyesore buildings Domtar has finally been torn down, but what of it’s tall smoke stacks? Do we really need a reminder to the citizens of Cornwall of what has plagued and stank up our community for the past 100 years?! Why is so much effort being laid down to overdevelop Brookdale? What about the rest of Cornwall. As beautiful as our new multi-pad-arena is, hockey is not for everyone therefore I think they should look into other venues of entertainment for the youth of the city. I would also like to see more food venues in Lamoureux Park and mayve a second bathroom facility further down the bike path, for those biking towards the Power Dam/old Cornwall Canal. I would also like to see a third Fire Dept. located in the north end of town to service Riverdale, Brookdale, Pitt North and all it’s ajacent streets. I would also like to see more high paying jobs in Cornwall. I would like to see the average Cornwall family income grow from 20,000 dollars to 30\35,000 dollars. I am proud that Cornwall’s job sector is finally diversifying into more job opportunity choices. I am glad Cornwall is no longer dubbed a Mill town. But places like Teleperformance, Star Tek, Ridgewood Industries are not going to improve the quality of life for many individuals who work there. I mentioned these places because these are jobs that pay minimum wage, and also it’s some of our largest employers. Places like these are unacceptable wage-wise in a city like ours. There are many people in Cornwall that are working dead end jobs, people who have difficulty getting or paying for post secondary education. So in the mean time their quality of life grows stagnant due to pour wages offered by the employers. Not only do these people have a pour lifestyle, but their children suffer as a result. Cornwall is in dyer need of higher wage jobs than ever before, as the cost of living is skyrocketing and mortgage fees climb, people in this city are having a difficult time making ends meet. Compared to other Canadian cities of similar size “this” is embarrassing. There are many changes taking place in the Seaway city but not enough to keep our younger generations from moving to other cities, this is a problem and what iv’e stated above must be dealt with, if we as a city are to prosper in the future. I am 27 and still kicking the can.

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