Tag Archives: progress

The Politics of Small Town Change in Carleton Place


Thursday August 13, 2015

Town of Carleton Place rejects St. James Anglican Church’s request to allow Manitoulin Chocolate Works to bring their business to town and restore Elliot Hall.
Related reading: The Willy Wonka Blues of Carleton Place

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How many small towns are truly successful without change? Some prosper, while many others suffer disinvestment, loss of identity and even abandonment. Towns like Perth keep their historic character and quality of life in the face of a rapidly changing world. Other towns have lost the very features that once gave them distinction and appeal. Perth, Merrickville, Almonte and many others accepted change without losing their heart and soul.

Those particular small towns have done it minus the cookie-cutter development, that has turned many communities into faceless places. They refused to be the small towns that young people flee, tourists avoid and which no longer instill a sense of pride in residents. Sound familiar?

Successful communities always have a plan for the future. Unfortunately, “planning” is a dirty word in communities, especially in small towns and rural areas. In some places, this is the result of today’s highly polarized political culture. It is difficult to name any successful business that doesn’t have a business plan. Without one it would a very hard time attracting investors or staying competitive in the marketplace.

It seems to be written in stone that some people in small towns don’t like change. But they need to understand that change is inevitable. The dynamics of the population and consumer attitudes are always changing, and they will affect a community whether people like it or not. Success only happens when we “embrace”  new and old ideas that can help our small businesses, and entice new ones.

A new industrial park is not going to attract tourists that spend money at our local businesses. We have an abundance of historic buildings, and an attractive and accessible waterfront that is underused. It also feels like the powers to be just want the town to stay the same. The more a community comes to look just like every other small town the less reason there is for anyone to visit. All we need to do is implement a small number of new ideas in Carleton Place. They could make a huge difference in this community.

Of course every town has its naysayers. The word “no”, is a very powerful word in a small community. Leaders of successful communities know that “yes” is a much better word for progress. Communities that embrace the future will prosper, and those that do not will decline. Sameness is not a plus-it is a huge minus. Small unique businesses like the Manitoulin Chocolate Works are the key to our small towns’ future. We need to leave a positive legacy. Don’t let the fear of change obscure the inevitability and necessity of progress like the Carleton Place Council did tonight.

Linda Seccaspina, 2015

If you want to now some history about that area and the different commercial  and non commercial places of Bell Street and area read here.

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place