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LETTER: Timing of public meeting is backwards

City should take advantage of engaged citizens who are the experts, citizen says
2018-04-18 orillia power.jpg

OrilliaMatters has received the following letter to the editor from Orillia resident Tshweu Moleme, who says closed-door meetings and poor communication are behind citizens’ concerns about City Hall.

Orillia Power sale discussions, of late, are worrisome. Add the recreation centre to this, and you see a major problem for our community.

One has to admit, though, that it is very hard to form satisfactory opinion or conclusions on these issues because, when there are closed-door sessions held by council, we (citizens/community) won’t be privy to some of the key factors at hand. However, the results from these meetings should provide some comfort for the community. Unfortunately, one isn’t seeing the comfort or confidence.

[But] what is the big problem here? Well, based on what we see right now, communication with Orillians is becoming the dominant piece here. This might be why the city has decided to hold a public meeting on Orillia Power. However, one must ask, why call these meetings after deciding to appeal the OEB decision? It makes no sense to invite people over for discussions/opinion, after the fact.

Orillians aren’t a disengaged populace. When I go into the Mariposa Market, Verona, Tim Hortons, or any of our local “joints” for coffee, I’m always excited to hear what people there have to say about the political affairs of our city. You know, they never disappoint. These citizens are, actually, the experts, with brilliant solutions to our problems, and it doesn’t matter how old the problem is - the solution(s) is there. They are who you talk to about actualities of the Sunshine City. It makes one sad to see these experts invited to the table when a decision has already been made.

One would also think that, by now, council would’ve learned many a lesson from the MURF file; a hot file that’s still active and before council.

Taken together, both the recreation centre and Orillia power issues serve as yet another lesson. These are two, very hot coals, in the hands of Orillia.

The city has got the tools. The city has got expert citizens. All it takes is the application of the right tool to the problem. To achieve that, however, citizens will need to be to at the table, too - on time, not late.

Indeed, a wise person once said, “be the change you wish to see...” Maybe my friends and the grandma and grandpa I meet on the streets of Orillia or at coffee shops, are right. I may very well have to throw my Sunshine City hat into the next round... We need action. We have the tools and experience. Let us use them appropriately and in a timely manner.

What do you think, Orillia?

Tshweu Moleme