I don’t usually make predictions but I can look into my crystal ball and tell you what will happen tomorrow morning at the special meeting of council to discuss the ‘Chandlers Crematorium” issue.
This is based on 40 years of covering municipal politics in Quebec City, Woodstock Ont, North Bay, Bathurst, Corner Brook, Swift Current, Sask.and five or six more council chambers that I sat in.
The Golden Rule is: Politicians take the path of least resistance. Remember the first rule of politics, “get or stay elected”. So many are not interested in being right but being liked.”
Council will not make a final resolution re the Crematorium but instead will agree with the safe recommendation of the PAC (Planning Advisory Committee) that met last night. Safe is the key word.
In my opinion, while the recommendation wants council to gather more information” on the subject, it is not the right decision.
Last night there was a great divergence of viewpoints and the planning committee was impressive from the diversity of positions on the topic.
Robert Ross was particularly interesting and informative as he spoke for over 20 minutes on a myriad of subjects on the matter and urged that everything be done from “talking to neighbors” to “emissions standards”.
He and others gave so much information.
He wants to look into it, to examine, to explore, to investigate and that certainly makes sense….but.
Yes, there’s a but and it is a big one.
All of what Ross and some others want is good if Crematoriums were a new thing. If we had no information on them, if they were the latest thing in the funeral industry.
They are not.
They have become a big deal here because we have never had one. If we had it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.
Why do the research and all the work when one can simply go to Bridgewater where there are two such things and Yarmouth? Some of those are in or near residential area.
The one on Portland Street in Dartmouth is literally next to a major people gathering place…Tim Hortons.
It’s not that I am insensitive to people around the area it’s that I am for business and these days that’s a priority for any small town in Nova Scotia. Business expansion is a good thing and Chandlers deserve a chance to expand their business.
Also, you can’t satisfy all groups. Some people will hate this decision and that is to be expected.
The only real complaint I heard other than NIMBY (Not in my backyard) was one elderly lady who complained about the Crematorium in Burlington, Ontario. She said it made a noise. Who knows maybe it was on repairs or it was a steel plant but again I’ve followed news in Yarmouth and Bridgewater and never heard a complaint.
The other aspect that the mayor and council should remember is although a lot of residents (five or six) spoke against it, that is not necessarily reflective of support.
10 or more people religiously, every time they got a chance showed up in council chambers to rail against the building of Queens Place. Thank goodness John Leefe didn’t listen to them.
Let’s be honest here, most if not all who attend last night are against something in this case Chandlers expansion.
People who don’t care or are for it don’t show up. Why should they?.
We’re not building a brand new Michelin Plant in Liverpool spread over acres and acres of land. We are building a crematorium that is tested, a state of the art facility, perfectly legal and as Kevin Samuels pointed out last night that “you get more emissions from your wood stove than you do from a Crematorium”.
If these things weren’t safe they would not be licensed across all over North America.
In fact I heard from an expert that there is no smoke that comes out of the chimney but steam or vapour.
As a person who deals in public relations it’s to bad that the Chandlers people didn’t have a video to show as it would stop the unfounded fears.
Finally, the mayor Christopher Clarke ran in getting elected on a few strong principles.
One he was adamant that “we must treat business better, be more welcoming.”.
He told me that outside the post office when he declared his intentions to run and re-echoed that thought in front of around 300 people in September at the Astor in “Meet the Candidates Night”.
“We must be friendly and make businesses feel welcomed in Queens County”. Were they just words? Where are the actions, sir?
So far in his tenure the mayor has not lived up to his “treat business nicer.”
Last summer he refused to do anything, even a wash, to the businesses involved in the Market and Main project that tied up the streets for half a year.
One business did not demand but simply politely asked if the region could help pay for repairs to their windows due totally to the construction.
The mayor’s response was not to chat with the business, or call them, or send a nice email but rather he sent them a lawyer’s letter. He surely made that business “welcoming”.
BTW, the letter nearly cost $200 and I had to use the threat of the Freedom of Information Act to get this information.
He could have used that money for washing down the business infiltrated with dust thanks to the region.
This matter will be resolved and Chandler’s that have been here for 100 years, a vital part of this community will get their crematorium, the question is whether the mayor and council have the fortitude, the guts, to make it happen tomorrow.
After watching this council for nearly two years, I think they will take the path of least resistance and go for the “more info” route when they really don’t need to. For the moment they delay the inevitable.
I would love to be wrong and tell you that the mayor who can influence just about all councilors and does it often, the only councillor he can’t control is Brian Fralic who speaks his mind very politely and has since he was elected and that’s not a bad thing to have a different opinion.
So, Mr. Mayor will you lead and stop this fruitless waste of time and expenditure?
Let the public process begin but it’s a waste of time and money to satisfy so few complainers who believe they will see or smell bodies being burnt.
No such thing will ever happen. It really is a case of ignorance or lack of education on the matter.
Chandler’s knows that.
The mayor knows that.
Much of the public knows that.
But we will need to “gather more info”.
What a waste of time and money.
It’s your turn Mr. Mayor.
Alex J. Walling