Comment - Haldimand - Desperately in need of change

by Bill Jackson - The Regional

May 19, 2010

With the municipal election just a little more than five months away, there's plenty of time for debating local issues in the months to come. Funny though, how after three years of lawless land occupations and criminal volatility, the political landscape actually seems dumbed down at the current time. It should be on the hot-stove.

Although many people have let municipal politicians off the hook for native occupations and land claims, the prevailing issues related to them should still be at the top of mind for voters.

How do election candidates plan to move the county forward? Most I've spoken with so far don't really have a platform yet. Those who do don't seem to know their back end from their front. And the most common cure-all statement seems to be that we need to develop 'Better relations with Six Nations.' Imagine that on a t-shirt or a bumper sticker in the Canada Day parade. Keep in mind, council terms are now four years in duration. The next council will be responsible for guiding the county until 2014.

Because it's almost summer, it's easy to understand how some people are sick of the same issues being discussed repeatedly. But the fact that many of them still linger only goes to prove that Haldimand is far from being out of the woods when it comes to many facets of economic development that should be running full-tilt at this time of the year.

Despite the relative calm that has fallen over Haldimand, it's a major concern that will surely resurface. How local election candidates address them should be paramount, even if you don't live in Caledonia. Wal-Mart and TSC aren't marching back to Dunnville just yet and native land claims throughout the so-called Haldimand Tract are still unresolved, the parties embroiled in turmoil amongst themselves. The million dollar question is: Why are things different than they were three years ago? Or are they? If anyone has a clear cut answer, we'd be happy to hear it.

Douglas Creek Estates is still an eyesore and inaccessible to the white man. Last time I checked the 2011 toll road signs were out and the Mountie effigy was still hanging from a noose. Illegal smoke shacks are still in operation on Hwy. 6. I guess in some cases we're becoming used to the insanity, like back pain or a massive head wound.

Yet Haldimand is desperately in need of change. Whether that comes in the form of politicians, policing or political ideology can be debated. But municipal politicians must play a role in the future. If no one cares at the local level, who will? What will it take to get Haldimand back on track for the betterment of its residents and a prosperous future? What, if anything, do people want their local elected representatives to change compared to the past four years?