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‘Intellectually bereft’

Dear Editor:

Who does Centre Wellington council represent?

The recent decision by council to reject a cannabis store within its borders is disappointing, but beyond that an affront to the core ideal of a representative council.

There was a formal survey done by “our” township, to solicit the opinion of residents on whether to allow a retail store within our boundaries. That outreach resulted in a large majority - 64% of respondents - favouring a retail store. As well, it should be noted here that this survey was done at taxpayer expense.

Despite the overwhelming majority favouring a retail store, council voted against allowing such an entity. This decision makes a mockery of the survey; given the clear guidance, one wonders what was the point of this exercise?

This quote from the decision: “We have our residents’ best interest at hand,” said Mayor Kelly Linton. “At this time, we are not confident in allowing cannabis retail storefronts within our municipal boundary. Thank you to our residents for taking the time to voice their concerns, and fill out our survey on Connect CW. I envision that storefronts will require additional bylaws, which in turn increases taxes. We are not prepared at this time to offset this onto our tax base.”

Linton mentions residents voicing “their concerns,” which completely misrepresents the results. If anything, residents should be “concerned” that this council completely disregarded a clear expression of support from people who took the time to respond.

People participated, with the inference their opinion mattered. Clearly it did not; only 33% of respondents rejected a retail store, yet that view won the day with a democratically elected council. As a resident, this disconnect is hard to reconcile.

Linton uses the flimsy excuse of increased taxes. This is both insulting and ironic, given what taxpayers just wasted to conduct an apparent useless survey. What did it cost to conduct this survey, and should we resist future feedback in the name of fiscal constraint, given this process has no apparent sway or practical relevance?

Perhaps taxpayer money is better spent elsewhere. Linton’s rationale is patronizing and intellectually bereft of empirical context. Irrespective of your personal opinion, this complete and utter disregard for the democratic process should concern us all.

Steve Valeriote, FERGUS


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