Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
`Silent majority' too quiet
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 14 Jul 2006, p. 6

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`Silent majority' too quiet

Council's recent decision on the Main St. reconstruction project demonstrated its ongoing struggle to determine the views of the "silent majority". The project involves the reconstruction of downtown Georgetown's Main St., from Church St. to George St. As with most other capital projects, council hired a consultant who came up with options for a new look-- something to "drive" more visitors to the downtown area. This was not only presented in an advertised meeting to the public, which gave the options a thumbs up or thumbs down, but also to the Georgetown BIA merchants. Staff then analyzed these opinions to come up with a recommendation, which was then presented to council for approval. Sounds simple enough, right? Nope. In this case, the consultant recommended removing the centre eightfoot median-- something most of the merchants wanted (and we also didn't have a problem with)-- but the majority of residents called for its retention. Council settled on a compromise, retaining the island in a smaller 4-foot format which allowed the expansion and enhancement of sidewalks. This plan was accepted by the merchants. Done deal, right? Nope. At the meeting to confirm the decision, resident David Harley claimed he spoke for the "silent majority" which wanted the median gone. He said council made a rushed and wrong decision based on a need for election votes. Sorry David, but the "majority" should have found its voice on this matter. Never one to pass up the chance to beat an issue to death, Councillor Mike Davis again tried to delay the decision-making until more residents came forward to speak. We think he would be waiting a long time and in the meantime, the business of this Town must move on. As Councillor Jane Fogal said, of the 106 opinions expressed, the "majority" said they wanted the median retained in some form. In this case council did what it's supposed to do-- listen to the people. That's democracy-- and what happens when the "silent majority" chooses to remain mute. The Town is hoping to have this roadwork done by next summer so that the Homecoming 2007 visitors will be impressed. Frankly, we don't think they'll care whether there's a median or not or that the Town has spent $1.2 million on it-- not if they can't find a decent place to park in the downtown.

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14 Jul 2006
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`Silent majority' too quiet