by David McClung

It’s Monday night and I just got home from driving to Hagersville and back in a snowstorm for nothing.

I checked the Haldimand County website a couple of times this afternoon thinking surely they would cancel tonight’s Community Engagement Session for their Parks and Recreation Service Plan Update.  Then I checked it one more time at 6:25 p.m., and—just in case I wasn’t looking in the right place on their website—did a Google search for “Haldimand County Parks and Recreation meeting January 29 2018 cancelled.”  Still nothing, so I set out.

When I got to the arena, there were lots of people around, but the door by the Almas Room was locked, so I went in through the main lobby.  At the top of the stairs the door was open, and one light was turned on right by the door, but the room was otherwise dark and empty.

Just inside the door stood Sheila Wilson, Manager, Community Development and Partnerships, who was telling a gentleman that the meeting was only about very general things and not about trails—which doesn’t agree with the information in the published notice.  It seemed she was discouraging him from expressing his displeasure with the County’s trail plan.

Anyway, it had to have been perfectly obvious to her that I was now there, too, but she just went on and on with this other man and ignored me completely.  Eventually I was forced to interrupt her monologue saying, “I guess the meeting is cancelled?”

She deigned to respond, “Yes, our consultant is stuck in the snow in Guelph.”

So I asked her, “How long have you known this?”

“Since six o’clock,” she answered.

So then I said, “Well that’s interesting, because I checked the County website at 6:25, and there was no cancellation notice.”

“I don’t have access to post a notice,” was her excuse.

“Well, surely you have access to someone who does have access,” I responded.

At this point I noticed that a red-bearded gentleman who had organized some very effective opposition to Ms. Wilson’s half-baked notion for a Caledonia-to-Hagersville trail at a meeting a few months back had come up behind me and was grinning ear-to-ear.

“But I couldn’t get hold of her,” Sheila responded once again.

“Is there no alternate person to contact?”

“Only certain people have access.”

“So, do you think this is something that should be reviewed?”

“Well, yes.”

One thing that Ms. Wilson definitely did not say during our conversation is, “I’m sorry.”

Anyway, I just thought you all might be interested in this little interaction of mine with Haldimand County—the people who are responsible for developing and implementing our emergency preparedness plan in case of earthquake, major flood, pipeline explosion, etc.

You should all sleep better tonight knowing that we are in such competent hands.