Archived Letter – 1481

Kelly Kirk is my dental hygienist and a friend. She is also a long time resident and small business owner in the Town of Erin.

I was driving to an appointment with Kelly this morning and I drove past her street because I missed her familiar sigh, at the corner of Main and Water Streets, that tells me it is time to turn right. When I told her that her sign was down she told me that the town Compliance Officer, Maddie Eddie, had confiscated it on August 9 without any notice. As she thought the sign had been stolen, she repl at heraced the sign on August 23 at her expense. That new sign was removed on August 30 and, this time, Ms. Eddie notified Kelly. The Compliance Officer told Kelly that the sign was illegal and non compliant with the Town bylaws. Kelly told Ms. Eddie that she not only had written permission from the private owner for the property the sign is on but alsp that she had a permit from the Town to post that sign. Ms. Eddie said, in the strongest terms, that the permit did not exist and that the decision was final.

Kelly searched her files and, after several hours of searching for a document that was over 8 years old, she was able to find it. Her “thanks” for producing the permit that the Town had clearly misplaced, was to immediately revoke it. She was told she could no longer use this corner to promote her business.

I an enraged to hear about how the Town goes about enforcing its byaws! Removing signs without any notification; accusing a respected Erin business of lying about the existence of a permit; and the revoking that permit without an apology or due process is a disgraceful way to treat anyone, let alone a struggling small business. That sign at the end of Water Street is the sole reason I knew there was a dental hygienist in Erin. It is a “landmark: sign for Pearly Whites and to remove the sign for no apparent reason is heatless.

And this is what the Town of Erin is becoming … heartless! Iit is a sad reflection of what the Town has become over the last 4 years. Our taxes are rising at a precipitous rate; our Town Hall is filled with people we no longer know and with people who do not live in the community; our main streets of Erin and Hillsburgh are as vacant as ever; they have discouraged long time volunteers; and the Town appears heartless to the needs of its constituents and small businesses.

Thankfully we have an election in the near future We are in a position to do something about our plight. Let’s have some meaningful change in City Hall. I, personally, believe the problem starts at the very top, but do we really want to reelect the same town councillors who have supported the Mayor throughout the change process of the last 4 years? We just experienced the departure of Matt Sammut, a town councillor who was clearly frustrated by a council unwilling to be accountable. The signs are all there that change is needed. All signs except, of course, for the sign promoting Pearly Whites. Please help Kelly get her sign back and let you candidates know how you feel about supporting the Town’s existing small businesses.

Brian Gentles