Mail bag: 02/25/2021

For-profit problems

Dear Editor:

For humanity and necessity I agree with the immediate government funding of nursing homes. Regardless, it is the profit motive that has largely created the current horrendous situation.

Consequently, perhaps the taxpayer could be reimbursed from current profits, together with proposed dividends to shareholders, all payable to the Government of Ontario.

Peter Morris,


Think of shut-ins

Dear Editor:

Have you ever thought what it would be like to be confined to your home? Many people cannot drive and have difficulty walking.

This may be caused by a stroke, disease, accident, your destination has closed (ARC), or simply becoming frail due to age.

The next time you complain about having to stand two metres apart; line up; the bar, restaurant, and sportsplex are closed; think about those who are almost permanently shut in and would gladly trade places with you.

Chris Woode,


Heritage study needed

Dear Editor:

The proposed Gerrie Road subdivision will envelop our heritage property. We addressed Centre Wellington council at its meeting on Jan. 27 with the following information.

Using averages, the building of this subdivision will emit 16,888+ tons of greenhouse gasses and take 66,237,645 litres from the water table yearly.

It is doubtful our community is meeting provincially-mandated targets of “jobs per-hectare,” but is meeting (and possibly exceeding) density levels. This is unhealthy and unsustainable.

The proposal to include cluster townhomes and an apartment building – far away from shopping, services, and commuter roads – means that people living in “attainable housing” will have to pay more to reach conveniences, negating the effect of attainable housing.

Think pandemics! Higher density means higher transmission rates.

This property hosts sensitive wildlife; black bear, the protected pileated woodpecker, and is on the migratory path of the endangered monarch butterfly. Development will negatively impact these.

It will knowingly be placing residents adjacent to the Elora transfer station. While studies for noise/contaminants have been completed, human nature is what it is, it won’t be long before conflict arises!

This development will sit on the first farm lot ever cleared north of the Grand River in Nichol Township (and possibly all of Wellington County), circa 1832-1836. The Gerrie homestead that it will envelop is considered to be the earliest stone house in our community. As the founders of neither Elora nor Fergus ever lived in the communities they established, this property should be recognized and celebrated as one of, if not “the” founding homestead in our community.

Class A heritage farmland destroyed. Negative impact on an international migratory path. Huge carbon outputs, millions of litres of water pumped from our water table, knowingly placing residents in potential conflict, the destruction of the rural heritage landscape of Gerrie Road.

A better plan can be devised! We have a starting place for it ourselves. Since the meeting, however, we have not heard a word from the developer or the township.

Please write/email or phone your Township of Centre Wellington and Wellington County councilors. Tell them we need a heritage impact assessment on the century property, the heritage farmer’s field, and a study on how this development is going to impact the wildlife that calls this area home.

Working together we can create a better proposal for this land.

Paul Jarsky and Fred Gordon,


Treatment plant needed

Dear Editor:

Is your child one of the 70 still going to Ross R. Mackay Public School who will have to leave and get bused to another school further away? Or perhaps your mother and father have just found it too hard to keep up with the shovelling this winter, and can’t find a place to live in this community that doesn’t require a lot of physical labour? Did it occur to you suddenly that your adult children had to move far away from here in order to find a place to live at a reasonable price?

Or on a more personal level, have you been complaining about how high your water rates are? Perhaps you are a small business owner that has been blindsided by the COVID-19 pandemic which is going to push you over the edge into bankruptcy? Do you run a small service-type business in the town and are struggling to find enough clients to stay in business?

These are all very real problems that many people in this community have been experiencing. Every four years we elect a council, and we charge them with trying to find answers to the problems that face our community.

And every council for the last 20 years has tried to deal with these issues. They all keep coming back to the same solution: we need more people living in Erin. We need more housing that is affordable for young people with families. We need housing that can adapt to the changing needs of our seniors. We need a stronger commercial and industrial tax base to reduce the burden on the residential taxpayer.

To provide for more options in housing, we need to reduce the amount of land for, and therefore the cost of, housing. To slow the relentless pace of tax increases, we need more industrial and commercial businesses. Not only do they pay tax at twice the rate of residential properties, but they also provide employment so that you do not have to spend 780 hours a year just going to and returning from your job in the city.

The key to finding the solution to these problems is proper infrastructure that can provide water and sewer services in an efficient manner. We need a sewage treatment plant to keep this town a great place to live.

Oh, and by the way, the trout will actually enjoy having a stream to live in that doesn’t dry up in summer.

Rod Finnie,


‘Manipulative planning’

Dear Editor:

RE: Consultation key, Feb. 4.

I find Mayor Allan Alls’ letter to be somewhat accurate, however very misleading.

No doubt experts were consulted during this long process. Community engagement was done only to meet the requirements of the process.

All town residents were not informed during the process. Residents were not given the opportunity to question and receive valid answers in return.

When a meeting was held by the town, notice of the meeting was not delivered to each resident.

Some meetings were held in a venue which did not anticipate the size of the crowd in attendance. After lengthy presentations were made not enough time was allocated for questions. Questions were not properly answered with accurate facts. Questions that were unable to be answered at the meeting were not followed up on by the town.

I asked and am still waiting for the answer to my question about accurate costs of hookup for the residents. Monies or grants required was answered with the statement of we are going to build it with or without grants. The town will just borrow the money and charge the residents on the tax bill. The statement of we are not rushing any decision is just simply ludicrous.

Decisions are being made without consultation from the majority of the residents. Asking a resident that is going to give you the answer you want to hear is not consultation, it is manipulative planning.

I would suggest the town open its website on the wastewater project up for questions submitted to be published for all to see and answers be printed for all to see. I am sure some comments received should not be published, however properly formatted and submitted questions would be a start to improving the transparency and trust in our elected town council.

I would also suggest the town put an immediate halt to all construction and planning until questions are properly answered. I have many questions about this project and the planning of our town growth but I will not ask nor waste my time if I know I am not going to get a proper answer.

So how about it, Mayor Alls, let the questions go public: yes or no?

Paul Tomkinson,


Fight’s not over

Dear Editor:

The moratorium on new permits for the taking of water for bottling purposes ends on April 1. At around this same time, Nestlé Waters Canada will be selling its spring water holdings to two private American companies. No doubt this will create some concern as to how it will affect us here in Centre Wellington. What will be the plans for the Middlebrook well?

We are a community that has uncertainty about its future water supply. Centre Wellington, in fact, is officially identified at “significant risk” regarding water sources to provide sufficient water for its mandated growth. Under the Places to Grow legislation the township was targeted to double its urban population by 2041 and grow even more by 2051.

The moratorium initiated in 2016 has been effective in stopping any taking of water from the Nestlé-owned Middlebrook well, west of Elora, but that protection will cease in April. The well is situated in the most advantageous location within Centre Wellington for both quality and quantity of groundwater.

The Township’s Water Supply Master Plan (WSMP) has determined that four new municipal wells are needed to meet the expected population growth. As a general rule municipal wells are spaced at least two kilometres apart but because of the strategic location of the Middlebrook well and the possible issue of a permit to take water in the near future, some of these proposed new wells may have to be moved further afield to less prime locations.

A recent positive step taken by the provincial government was to legislate that a water bottling company seeking a permit to take water must have support of the local municipality council from where the water will be taken. However, this approval only applies to water taken which exceeds 379,000 litres per day.

Although 379,000 litres is a lot less than the 1.6 million litres per day that Nestlé had been seeking, it is still a considerable quantity of water and an amount a water-stressed community like Centre Wellington can ill-afford to lose. Allowing this amount to be taken might make sense in a water rich community but to create a “one size fits all rule” like this is foolhardy at best.

Unlike with Nestlé Waters Canada, there may be limited information coming from the two American companies that are proposing the purchase. Neither is currently directly involved in water bottling and we have no knowledge of their long-term plans. One is an equity firm while the other is a company that “leverages extensive industry knowledge, operational expertise and flexible capital to revive and re-imagine iconic brands”.

This uncertainty is worrisome. It will require a commitment on the part of all concerned citizens to remain diligent in safeguarding our groundwater for future generations. Centre Wellington has come a long way in protecting its water supply but the fight to do so has not ended.

Mike Shackleford,


‘Stay vigilant’

Dear Editor:

RE: Nestlé sells North American water bottling businesses to private equity firm, Feb. 25.

I noted on the Advertiser’s website that Nestle has sold its water bottling business to a private equity firm out of New York.

The battle for the Middlebrook well is not over yet. The moratorium is over on April 1 and the new owners could do a test, which could lead them to taking water for bottling purposes. It is important to stay vigilant on this matter.

The issues are still the same: the township needs four new wells to accommodate projected growth and Middebrook has been identified as the optimal site.

I look to the municipal government to start talks with the new owners to make our local position clear: no water taking for water bottling.

Penny Lipsett,


‘A dangerous thing’

Dear Editor:

RE: Truth still exists, Feb. 18.

You asked how people with no background, training or education in virology, epidemiology and public health became self-appointed experts? Simple. They read a few tweets and Facebook posts and then forgot Alexander Pope’s 1709 advice.

A little learning is a dangerous thing;

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:

There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,

And drinking largely sobers us again.”

And you asked, “How did people previously assumed to be somewhat intelligent get so sucked in by obvious misinformation and conspiracy theories?”

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time” (Abraham Lincoln).

So with the massive amount of tweeting and Facebook posting and reading being done, “even some people fooled some of the time” results in successful transmission of falsehoods and fake news to a substantial part of the population.

The idea that “people previously assumed to be somewhat intelligent” are always smart enough to avoid being misled or fooled is exposed in the classic book Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay and published in 1852.

It totals 724 pages  of how people have been fooled, misled and exploited over the centuries.

Allan Johnson,


‘Courage to stand up’

Dear Editor:

I for one was very heartened recently to see three letters to the editor applauding Steven Vanleeuwen for taking a stand against the lockdowns.

I too fully respect his courage to stand up and speak knowing full well the wrath this would impose, and impose it has.  His integrity is only further revealed by his refrain from judging and name calling (ie. “selfish”), as was inflicted upon him and those councillors who support him.

The slogan, “we are all in this together” popularized by the common narrative should be true, because we are. However, this pandemic and draconian safety measures has successfully divided friends, families and communities. This entire experience has been mishandled from day one.

We need more people like councillor VanLeeuwen. Way to go Steve!

Deborah Bonk,


‘Build consensus’

Dear Editor:

Re: Motion to remove VanLeeuwen as deputy mayor on hold, Feb. 18.

I was horrified to see that Mayor Kelly Linton made a motion to remove Steven VanLeeuwen as deputy mayor.

VanLeeuwen’s position against the lockdowns represents an important perspective within our community. The motion is anti-democratic and is consistent with other troubling comments the mayor has made throughout the pandemic. There is no excuse, including COVID-19, for challenging our democracy.

I applaud the councillors who stood up against the motion. If it is so important to Linton that “the mayor and deputy mayor are on the same page,” the only democratic way to solve the dispute would be for Linton to resign.

If he is not willing to do that, he should seek to learn from his opposition and seek to build consensus like any responsible politician.

Patrick O’Neil,


‘Ever-loving dollar’

Dear Editor:

Do we have another Trump in Centre Wellington?

Councillor Steven VanLeeuwen is now a member of the radical five known as the End the Lockdowns National Caucus. If he thinks lockdowns cause more harm than the virus, he should talk to the hundreds of families who have lost loved ones to this virus.

VanLeeuwen and Kitras, both own businesses in Centre Wellington. It is all about the ever-loving dollar. That’s their only concern. Both councillors should be asked to resign. Are these people, with radical ideas like this, the ones you want running this town and spending your hard-earned tax dollars?

The mayor will not ask VanLeeuwen to resign as he is part of the mayor’s posse.

Kirk McElwain and Bob Foster are the only people on council with any common sense. Start a campaign to have Kitras and Vanleeuwen expelled from council.

Jay Alexander,


‘Good folks’

Dear Editor:

I am new resident to beautiful Elora and I must say the people here are as beautiful as nature’s surroundings.

I am a self-employed, single female that, like all of us, has been hit hard by the global pandemic. The stress of COVID-19, being a first-time home buyer, I launched my second company on Nov. 9. I would like to thank the wonderful, timely and effective support I received from our local Community Futures office, particularly Tina and Rick.

We are so fortunate to call this area home, and Canada our country. If you, or someone you know is struggling as a small business owner in this area, I urge you contact Community Futures. It really feels like neighbour helping neighbour.

At one point in my life, I worked for the prime minister and thought I could navigate the myriad of government programs on my own. Alas, it was as if the government has made it impossible to access supports. The good folks at Community Futures were able to help me. I know they can probably help you too.

Sara MacIntyre,


Valuable Valentines

Dear Editor:

I simply want to say a huge thank you to the staff and students of the various educational facilities in our Fergus/Elora area who took the time to create home made Valentines Day cards as well as deliver bags of candy to residents of some of our seniors’ facilities.

With the necessary visiting restrictions in place and only essential caregivers allowed to visit due to COVID-19, many seniors are missing the visits and outings that they would normally have with family and friends.

Upon my arrival on Feb. 14 to visit with my mother-in-law, she was so thrilled to show me the small gestures that she received from the schools. I want you to know that your thoughtfulness was sincerely appreciated and it brought happiness to many a resident on this special occasion.

Susan Harrop,


Advice for ‘naysayers’

Dear Editor:

There seems to be a number of people questioning the possibility of using vaccine from the Covax pool and suggesting this is un-Canadian.

I do believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but Canada has been giving and giving to poorer nations for years and years. How can it be deemed un-Canadian, to take care of Canadians first, before giving any more?

Many Canadian families have lost grandads and grandmas, sons and daughters and are just sick, tired and broken and not in any mood to listen to these self-righteous opinions.

I suggest that these naysayers pack a bag, put their boots on (and bullet proof vest if they have one)  pick a country of choice and go there, if they really want to help.

Malcolm McCulloch,


Use ‘real’ methods

Dear Editor:

I would love to help our local restaurants. But only the pizza places deliver. Takeout/curbside pickup is quite useless for seniors in an area with no Door Dash, Skip the Dishes, Uber Eats, etc.

Hundreds of us cannot drive after dark! Our local taxis won’t do deliveries.

Restaurants have missed a huge opportunity to probably double their sales here and I don’t know if they realize it.

Also, “posting” things on Facebook instead of using real advertising methods means a large percentage of us who’ve rejected social media will never know.

Helen Marucci,


‘Balanced reporting’

Dear Editor:

RE: ‘Socialist narrative’, Feb. 11.

Wayne Baker uses the word socialism in a negative way when talking about the balanced journalism of public media, particularly the CBC. I hear the word socialism used a lot in the press these days, usually by people who are angry that they can’t have their own way or aren’t allowed to make hurtful allegations. I decided to check the meaning.

Socialism, according to several online dictionaries, is a system in which all citizens share equally in economic resources as allocated by a democratically-elected government. I think Baker should be using the word communism where the resources of society are controlled by the state.

Our country is a well-functioning democracy. The government, elected by its constituents, makes decisions for the common good without appearing to favour one citizen over another.

Just as the principal stops a schoolyard bully from being nasty, the editor of a newspaper has an obligation to check the information which is printed. He is correct in filtering out inflammatory remarks.  This has less to do with curbing free speech than with keeping the peace.  Everyone in society works for a common good.

The danger occurs when people with a specific agenda, often promoted by well-funded private interests, insist that their rights are being trampled and scapegoat a particular person or agency such as the press.  The Advertiser, like the CBC, serves the people with balanced reporting.

One of the few luxuries of sitting at home during a pandemic is reading the Advertiser once a week.

I enjoy hearing different viewpoints but do not appreciate people making inflammatory remarks which will divide us.

Publisher Dave Adsett shows good judgement in publishing editorials which represent our community.

Cheryl Banks,
Centre Wellington


Nazis not the worst

Dear Editor:

RE: ‘Extreme views’, Feb. 11.

Again, I read with interest, Jim Taylor’s letter to the editor. I have always found that when a discussion devolves into false assertions, insults or name calling, it is self degrading to respond.

I would however like Taylor to think about his statement at the end of his letter, and just why he thinks those “rags” with a different perspective are any more reprehensible than the “accepted” norm.

I am writing these letters, not because I have “extreme views” but because I am scared about the direction our nation is heading. I am a firm believer that “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” (Winston Churchill).

After my initial letter (Just like Hitler? – Jan. 28)  was published, I got a phone call from a strong acquaintance of mine. This individual is in his 90s and he went through most of his formative years in Nazi Germany.  He practically begged me to stop writing these letters, not because I am wrong, but because he feels I am too close to the truth, and the powers at play will mark me for silence or worse.

As reprehensible as the Nazis were, I truly believe they were not the most reprehensible political movement in the 20th century. By far the most reprehensible movement in the 20th century by a factor in the hundreds beyond the Nazis, was the communist movement.

Putting it mildly, life is very unpleasant under socialism/communism, and anyone who believes anything different is very seriously misinformed.

Common tactics employed are geared around the one objective: to do anything possible to get into power.  This is usually manifested by appealing to any number of our deadly sins through lies and manipulation and discrediting or silencing any opposition.

Once in power, a common tactic is to run up massive debts, so any alternate government will have no choice but to follow the dictates of the previous government just to manage the massive debt (any of this sound familiar?). Time and space limit further expansion on a lot of other tactics.

In conclusion, we need to stop depending on an empty shell (our government[s]) and start to seriously think about the consequences of our individual actions, namely our overwhelming dependence on government, because the far reaching effects are too horrendous to imagine.

Wayne  Baker,
Wellington North


Facts and truth

Dear Editor:

RE: ‘Socialist narrative’, Feb. 11.

Wayne Baker’s original complaint was about “censorship”, not a specific factor, and to now challenge his critics to be specific (“who is lying?”) is disingenuous and a change of discussion.

He also falsely complained that his point of view is denigrated, when that description was made of the material being “censored”.

We actually are very different from our southern neighbours – I lived there for ten years and can gratefully attest to it. I have also lived in a socialist country, and we are nowhere even close.

Space precludes addressing each of the listed “evil things”, but it would appear that Baker does not believe in COVID-19 restrictions, helping people out – particularly during a pandemic – or the right to dismiss religion. That is his right of thought and free speech.

And if that had been his first complaint I am sure his opinion would have been respected  – although I would certainly have argued with most of it, particularly that COVID restriction deniers do not adequately consider science or have a anything but a selfish or politically expedient view.

I can’t end with a quote, attributed or not, but may I suggest that this and so many other disputes would so easily resolve if we could only all agree that facts and truth do not have alternatives.

They simply cannot be a matter of opinion.      

 Jim Taylor,