By Chris Pickup
Here we are, days away from the election and the county is still playing games with the Haldimand County museum.
Councillor Fred Morison is still trying to convince everyone “many untrue and negative statements have been/ are being made about the new library and heritage centre now being built in Cayuga”.
He posted a letter from one Nancy McBride, chair of the Haldimand Museum Advisory Board, who advised ‘if you say something often enough, eventually you believe that it is true’. That must account for the contents of her letter because much of what she says is bunkum.
This whole mess began with the county’s new administration building (CAB). Prior to that, plans were to put the library on the village green, and there were no unusual changes for the museum.
But In order to pay for the new CAB and all its bells and whistles, the council voted to tear down the Haldimand County Museum, move the historic log cabin and raze the present admin building so they could sell the county’s portion of the courthouse grounds to a developer for housing.
What they didn’t do was consult the public, who were completely in the dark.
When the news broke on social media the county had to find a rationale for what they were doing. In essence…. lie through their teeth and sink the whole issue in a morass of deceit.
They lied about the state of the present museum even though a county report had given it a good rating. They lied about the museum being landlocked. They lied about there not being enough green space on market square/village green, to put a new library. They lied about the Cayuga patent, saying it had never been issued and therefore the library could not be built there.
This council cannot be trusted to tell us the truth. In fact they can’t be trusted to tell us anything at all. And they certainly can’t be trusted to take local opinion into account.
Morison was forced into public meetings wherein he was told in no uncertain terms by some 150 members of the community that they wanted the museum and log cabin to stay right where they were. Online and paper petitions garnered over 1000 signatures. They were all ignored.
Delegations came before council, and were ignored.
It was pointed out the museum advisory board had not been consulted. A PRIVATE meeting ensued with Morison and county staff. The minutes of that meeting are still closed … and there was no fly on the wall to tell what was said.
But shortly thereafter, a subdued Nancy McBride appeared before council to give a speech supporting the new complex, and was immediately verbally rewarded with extra square feet of space in the new building. Which incidentally, has now disappeared again due to ballooning costs.
Eventually Hewitt pledged to keep the courthouse grounds as parkland, but there’s an end date on it of 2019. All bets are off after that.
The county is running a shell game with one of Cayuga’s most treasured historic sites, and calling it progress. We deserve better. A well-run county is more than its finances and shiny new buildings. Its residents need and deserve respect
Also read; Who’s misleading who