by Doug Snedden © 2017
EMC Article: The River Cleanup Volunteer Received Thousands In Donations From Council Discretionary Funds
First thing that comes to mind after reading the above article is confusion. I wasn’t sure if the article was intended to smear myself as a volunteer, volunteers in general, or the mayor. When something is not going your way, in this case, with Councillor Fritz, Councillor Redmond, Council Doucett, Deputy Mayor Flynn and the local reporter for the EMC Tara Gesner, they get frustrated. Maybe these people are saying things like: Why is this happening to me? This shouldn't be happening. They shouldn't be doing that. This is unacceptable. It can seem like life is riddled with things designed to push their hot buttons from big challenges in their personal lives, alcohol concerns, health issues, finances, political career or even through to tiny irritations day to day. And maybe these people feel completely justified in being upset about everything that is going on in their lives.
But whenever they notice themselves saying, "It shouldn't be this way", they're in resistance and they're on a fast train to a lot of pain, frustration and anguish. There is no other outcome available to them when they resist the facts. Resistance guarantees they will suffer. Why? Because what is happening around them is fact, and unchangeable. It is what it is. If they don't accept the facts, then they reject the facts. Rejection of the facts is resistance. Resistance equals pain.
And it’s obvious that this group of incredibly negative people are in pain and have no understanding of any facts regarding the river clean-up project, or of those council members who sincerely made a positive gesture using their discretionary funds, or the implications of their negative comments on the community they serve and the volunteers who graciously give their time “not their wallets” in service to their community.
These continuous attacks on the mayor and on community members are stealing the life from our town. And the cold hard truth is that it is being done intentionally. In my opinion, all these negative things being transmitted through the media, are dysfunctional. The more those in question resist the progress our community is making, the more tangled and upset they become. The deeper they go into that upset, the less clear and capable they are of representing our community as elected officials or reporters. As a result, it seems like whatever is upsetting those in question, is becoming worse.
Look at this May 18th article in the EMC and all the previous negative articles in the newspaper about the mayor and other community members differently. See what the real intentions are here and ask yourself: Are these the people who I want representing me as elected officials? Is this the type of reporting I want to read in my local paper? Why are they doing this? What are their motives? Who or what is really behind this?
I see our community in transition. We are transitioning through a very positive growth period and there are those in our community who will do anything to capitalize on it, regardless of how negatively it impacts the current and future health and safety of the residents of the Town of Carleton Place.
Volunteers are leading social change and impacting communities across the province. People in our community give their time to various initiatives, serving on boards, and pitching in to help raise funds for various organizations. These volunteers quietly and cheerfully give their time and energy, enabling local organizations working in the social services, environment, sports or culture sectors to deliver services that help boost the quality of life in Carleton Place. I hope that this attack on myself by the press and the council members involved, doesn’t dissuade anyone from volunteering in our community.
A Few Comments:
Mindy Merkley May 24, 2017 at 6:01 PM
I couldn't agree more with your evaluation of the events that have transpired, which have lead to the stoppage of your volunteering and the subsequent clean up of our mighty Mississippi. I can't help but feel that a "Trump"-like attack is taking place against our mayor and you are yet another fatality in this misplaced use of political power. I have lived in Carleton Place all my life and am sickened with the present town council and their actions that are resulting in non-productive decisions and character assassinations. I want to say thank you very much for all the free time you have donated to cleaning up the river. You are a role model for others in our community though our present council obviously doesn't think so, otherwise they would have found a way for you to continue your extremely valuable activity. I can only hope that today's town councillors will realize that a clean river is a necessity and they will volunteer their own time to take up the cause. Maybe then they will realize that the donations you were receiving were pittance compared to the actual cost of what it would really take to have the job professionally done. Perhaps then they would truly appreciate you and not use you as a way to "smear" our present mayor.
Bill Slade May 26, 2017 at 9:20 AM
What you have accomplished over the past 12 years is remarkable and so worthy of your community builders award. Whether this be a misguided target on a volunteer or another shot against the mayor is one of speculation. I think rather the latter. Having organized a waterfront clean-up project for the City of Brockville for two years, I can assure you $3,000 dollars would not come close to the expenses of a one day river clean-up project. As you say this project was primarily self-funded. If a commercial company were contracted to do what you have accomplished, the town would have spent ten's of thousands of dollars. What you received was a pittance to cover costs compared to the value of your work. Few realize the labor required and the medical risks digging refuse out of river muck, sharp metal and possible contaminates in closed rusting barrels. It is unfortunate the grandstanding of certain councillors over such a paltry sum for such a worthy cause has halted your project. Our river is a mess and will continue to be such until we take ownership of our environmental responsibility, stop dumping garbage into our lakes and rivers and discontinue to adopt an 'out of sight out of mind philosophy.' Unfortunately for the citizens of Carleton Place this council has placed so little value on 12 years of dedicated work cleaning the mess in our river made by others. One can only hope you reconsider and the posturing of certain council members and the press be taken for what it is.
Kathryn Carriere May 29, 2017 at 5:56 PM
I would like to thank you for your twelve year effort to make our river a safer and cleaner resource. I can't imagine the personal costs (financial, physical, emotional, etc.) that such an undertaking requires. In fact, it must be very overwhelming, and I'm hoping satisfying, to serve your town in such an admirable way for a protracted length of time. I am shocked that members of council and the local paper have taken the spirit and generosity of your labour and attempted to tarnish it by defining a volunteer and twisting it to suit an apparent ulterior motive. I too looked online for the definition of a volunteer. Oxford defines a volunteer: "A person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task". (n) and "Freely offer to do something". (v) To these ends, you sir, are an amazing volunteer. As others have noted, whatever monies that were freely given to support your efforts are a drop in the bucket to the true cost of what you have given of yourself to the town of Carleton Place. Furthermore, these donations are clearly not a reimbursement to you for your work but rather a realization and appreciation for the true financial costs for things like supplies and medical protection. I can only suppose that ignorance of the process, disrespect for the person and spite for our mayor are the reasons for this article and the opinions expressed. What baffles me the most though, is that these efforts to discredit you and our mayor are actually an attack on all those who have recognized the value of your work and supported you. In the end, it is our families, our visitors, our environment and our precious resource that suffer.