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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