I thought our community was made up of open minds, civil and human rights activists, environmentalist, healthy living and sport enthusiasts, the hard-working class, save-the-world kinda people, but if what I saw March 19 at the second OCP (Official Community Plan) rewrite meeting is an indication of what our community wants then I am truly saddened.
I can only hope that the results I saw are a minority, and that the rest of the community has been participating online, to the surveys put out by the Village hall office.
The first open house meeting was Jan. 26, the turnout poor, but also there was representation from Village officials and council, and a guiding hand from the consultant company representatives, (hired by the Village of Cumberland).
A number of stations were set up at table, points of concern, interest and new ideas were gathered under each heading, example, infrastructure, parks, heritage sites and buildings, etc. These were gathered either by the Village officials or consultant company.
The meeting on March 19 had all the chosen pertinent points professionally printed and placed on large boards with explanations under each heading, the points down the left side and columns to the right of each point, where one was to place a sticky dot, the choices being something like, agree, somewhat agree, strongly agree, disagree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree, etc.
On three such boards one of the point/questions was “should the First Nations be involved with any decision making?”
To my shock most of the dots were placed in the ‘strongly disagree’ column. I could not believe it, was the question read wrong, I reread it several times, NO it could not have been, I brought it to the attention of two Village officials to verify what I was seeing.
The turnout to this meeting was poor as well, but maybe people came and went before I got there, maybe more people are participating online than I realize, but if the rewrite of the OCP is left in the hands of people who ‘strongly disagree’ with First Nations involvement we are in true peril, all of us.
I am truly saddened and embarrassed by this, maybe these people feel that it would slow the process down or worse, they haven’t accepted the fact that no matter how our forefathers arrived or to those that arriving to our country still, it have been the First Nations who greet us with open arms.
Their involvement is key to everything, our cohesion with all people is key to everything, we have only one earth, one life, we could learn so much from each other, we need to slow down, and be patient when making decisions that will affect generations to come.
In a perfect world, each moment that we are alive would enhance our future, not destroy it, we all have the right to be heard, this is our OCP and does not have to be rushed through.