You don’t need to agree with me- in fact, if we all agreed to agree, life would be quite boring. But this an Op-Ed essay, and my opinions are conceived from what I have been observing, and doing historical research writing about the town of Carleton Place.
If you haven’t noticed, Carleton Place has been “sinking into the mud” for decades. People like to point fingers at every Tom, Dick, and Harry— but, did you know that the Carleton Place council throughout history hasn’t changed much. There were once even riots at the Victoria Public School because citizens on each side of the Central Bridge were fighting over to which area a school should go to.
Then there were the councilmen from years back having issues with the Findlay’s and they kept that grudge up for years. They finally got payback by demolishing a Findlay stone home on High Street. Two skids of stone were supposed to be saved from that historical home only to find out this year it was tossed years ago like leftovers on McArthur Island.
A century or so ago our local council did not grant water rights to a burgeoning Rosamond Mill- and they left for Almonte. How about the proposed Findlay property development that went nowhere, and the list goes on. There, there are the ones that got away to keep Carleton Place forever off a “must visit’’ list– and now, those offers lost have been breeding into the hundreds.
The Carleton Place Almonte Canadian Gazette, this week and last, had front-page news about our local BIA and “politics”- and gossip says there is more to come. I also question the issue of town staff being paid to research a local citizen lest they be in breach, unless it’s robbery or murder, instead of focusing on our problems at hand.
What problems they ask?
I am tired of hearing that the Main Street is ‘coming back’. Coming back from what? I hear very little about increased business- I see no crowds on the street. Am I wrong? Am I missing something? All I see are still empty storefronts and buildings for sale on MLS listings. Tell me I am wrong-I want to be wrong.
We do have some jewels on that street-but are people frequenting them? Have you gone into The Granary and seen what a world class store that it has become? Have you ever talked to Krista at Apple Cheeks? What about the gals at Wisteria, or Nancy from Nancy’s Impressions? Do you know we have a world-class designer at The Dress Shop? Or, have you experienced someone who really understands your feet at Graham’s Shoes and lived real customer service? What about the new restaurant, Chesswood, or our other restaurants? Of course money is at a premium, but what if we took turns to help support our businesses.
So am I complaining? I hope readers do not view this as complaints- I’d rather say I am trying to point out an alarming issue that grows dire by the day. Are other small towns having our problems? Of course they are, but that does mean we have to follow them?
I got tired this week of spending most of my day trying to promote Carleton Place and hearing invalid- none-water-holding statements and complaints. It has become very clear to me that people would rather complain than support their town and that saddens me greatly. No matter what anyone seems to do, no one listens, and they just love to pass the buck. You know why? It’s so much easier to put your head in the sand, ignore the house on fire, and just hope someone has cleaned up the ashes when you finally come up for air.
I am not going to stop writing about history, but as for local Carleton Place “promotion”, I kind of hit the wall this week. I sat there exasperated, knowing no matter what I did, or how hard I stomped and screamed, I could not foresee ANY change in this town- especially with the history–especially, with an alleged divided council, and especially, with a town that fights change every darn step of the way– and I have history to back me up to prove the point.
That past and current history has put a horrible damper on Carleton Place leading an exceptional life- and getting on lists of places that tourists should come and visit. It is a complete denial of responsibility, and all of us are simply continuing to excuse ourselves from being responsible for our town and its well being— and especially for its future.
You can NOW read my historical musings daily on The Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– The Tales of Carleton Place has been shut down due to the author becoming very sad and exasperated about the fate of our town.