I would like to make correction to the “Letters to the Editor” that appeared in last week’s edition of the Cosmos, written by Bev Northeast.
On April 2, 2012, the TD Bank property at the northwest corner of Toronto Street South and Elgin Park Drive went through a site specific Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law amendment. This piece of land was originally zoned “Special Purpose Commercial Exception No. 26,” which did not permit a stand alone bank.
At the public meeting, Hugh Handy, representing the owner of the lands, Elgin Park Toronto Developments Ltd., responded to a question presented by former Councillor Northeast, who asked “If the proposed development had any intention of incorporating residential development?”, to which he replied “the proposed development does not have any intend for residential development or further expansion.”
Councillor Ballinger also questioned the applicant, asking if the existing TD Bank branch would remain open. The response given to Councillor Ballinger, along with members of council, was “TD Bank is committed to keeping the existing TD Bank branch on the corner of Brock Street and Main Street open,” indicating that there was a sufficient market in Uxbridge for two TD Bank branches.
Former Councillor Northeast requested a recorded vote, which saw Councillors Mikuse, Mantle, Highet, Ballinger and myself supporting the application, and Councillors Northeast and Molloy voting against the motion.
Much has happened in the business world since 2012, and we have seen many banks close. These closings are business decisions that the financial institutions as making. I am personally sad to see TD Bank vacate its original site, however the Township of Uxbridge Council has no role to play in these decisions.
Gerri Lynn O’Connor
Township of Uxbridge
Regarding your column criticizing the notion of lowering the voting age to 16 (“A Blonde Moment, March 8 edition): I respectfully disagree! I think it’s a long overdue and thoroughly sensible idea.
I have known many 16- and 17-year olds who are more interested, more knowledgeable and more passionate about politics and public policy than many middle-aged voters, a sizeable percentage of whom can’t even be bothered to vote most of the time. We trust our kids to drive at 16 with all the rules and responsibilities that entails. Why on earth would you think they can’t master the concepts raised during and between election campaigns? Especially when many of the issues affect their lives and their futures directly. You think 80 and 90-year olds have a greater stake in the future than a 16-year old? That climate change, school policies and funding, and healthcare don’t have a huge impact on 16- and 17-year olds? You think they don’t care about how high school curricula are set or how universities are managed? Whether or not there’s good available childcare? Whether they’ll ever be able to buy a house? Of course they do, and they should!
Did you know the Scottish independence referendum included voters aged 16 and 17? Turns out they played a significant role in defeating the proposal. And have you considered this: that many 16- and 17-year olds work and pay taxes. Almost 250 years ago a revolution was fought south of the border on the principle: no taxation without representation. Withholding their franchise because of immaturity and ignorance or vulnerability to coercion doesn’t wash either: these issues aren’t age-specific. Seniors wield immense power by virtue of their numbers and wealth. Who stands up for the children? I say lower the voting age!
Do I think all of them would avail themselves of the opportunity? Nope. But let’s face it, most of the time more than a third of us who already have the vote don’t participate. I think the sooner we involve young people in how our town, province and country are run, the better off we’ll all be.
Re: “A Blonde Moment-Leave the voting to the big kids” (March 8 issue) I’m not surprised a Liberal MPP (Arthur Potts) would want to lower the voting age to 16. There’s potentially thousands of new, low information voters that the Liberals could harvest. One need only look at the last federal election to see how the Liberals like to entice youth to get out and support their agenda. And if any one doubts that offering to legalize marijuana did not play a major role in getting the federal Liberals an election win, may I suggest a five-minute conversation with any 18- year old voter in 2015. Somehow I don’t think talk of balanced budgets, smaller government or lower taxes played much of a role in their election choice.
In my opinion, suggesting now that we lower the voting age to 16-year olds is completely asinine. Many adults do not have the first clue about what our politicians are up to, or what’s going on in the world around them, and this MPP thinks someone at 16 could follow, or even wish to follow important decisions facing the province/country and who would be the best candidate to make those decisions.
Apparently, MPP Potts even knows a nine-year old ready to vote. Seriously? Well hold onto your wallets, kids, because you’re the ones that will be paying the massive debt 15 years of Liberal rule in this province have brought you. I’m sure the upcoming budget (March 28) will have plenty goodies for the electorate just ahead of the election. It’s a shame the Liberals can’t push through MPP Potts’ private members bill in time for that.
Finally, I couldn’t agree more with the columnist. All voters need to be informed on what the issues are, they need to be able to ask themselves what it is they believe in and what truly matters to them and their families to properly decide which political party best represents those views. Somehow, I think lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 is not going to achieve that. Giving someone the right to vote is not as important as educating that person on what that vote means.
I enjoyed Roger Varley’s article “’13 Ways” Installment #9 – Water Is the Soul of the Earth’” in the March 8 edition of the Cosmos. Subsequent to reading the article, I checked the Waterkeeper Swim Guide, which publishes online the state of beaches with respect to ecoli levels during swimming season. One of them is Elgin Pond Beach in Uxbridge.
A look at the last six years revealed the following failure rates. The failure rates are determined by looking at the percentage of time the beach is not swimmable during the weeks from June 5 to Aug. 28 as determined when ecoli levels exceed 100.
The failure rates (% of time) for each of the last 6 years are as follows:
2016 67% !!
The results are a worrisome and I was surprised to see this, given Uxbridge’s excellent water supply.
I am interested to know if Roger is aware of the reason for such poor results is years such as 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016.