Monday, December 18, 2017

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StephenVance 540If you thought that the close of my July 6 editorial 'Still a Long Road Before We Know if Former Foodland Building is Suitable For a Library' seemed a little harsh, you're right and it wasn't meant to be – I screwed up.

With a busy short week last week thanks to the Canada Day holiday, I found myself rushing a time or two, and I didn't even realize I had messed up the closing of my editorial until after it had already been published, and then a sleepless weekend ensued.

As published, the editorial closed with:

While it's possible I can be convinced once the study is complete that the former Foodland property would make a good location for a badly needed new library, I'm not alone in my cautious approach to the issue. I'll share a comment made to me about the property over the weekend by a resident who is moving away from Meaford later this month to take a job that they'd have preferred to have been able to find at home in Meaford: “It's amazing how much time and money council is willing to spend now to turn the building into a library. Imagine if we'd seen that much effort trying to find a business to move in there bringing us jobs.”

Now I'm not one to shy away from being critical of council or upper level staff when it's appropriate, but there were two more paragraphs that were supposed to be at the end of my editorial, and without them, it seems I've taken an unfair jab at council – but it was unintended.

You see, when I write my editorials, I will often write sections out of order, just to get the thoughts down, and then I often separate sections with plenty of white space while I am working on the editorial, moving paragraphs around and so on. With last week's editorial, what I had intended to be my final paragraphs ended up on a separate page, and when I copied the text to paste into the final document, I missed the last two paragraphs.

It might seem like nothing, but it kept me up at night over the weekend. As mentioned above, I'm not one to shy away from sharing criticism of council, but I never like to do so frivolously, and without warrant. My thought is that criticism of local councils by the local newspaper editor always carry more weight when they are shared responsibly and objectively, and last week, in my haste to wrap up the weekly paper, I failed to ensure that my editorial was complete and fair.

Here's what was supposed to have followed the final paragraph in that editorial:

To be fair, council and staff have made efforts to try and help bring new businesses to town and they have publicly expressed a desire to find a new tenant for the empty grocery store, and no doubt the property owner would have loved to have found a new tenant by now, but it is understandable that with the recent enthusiasm for the municipality to work a deal to set up a library on the property, that some, particularly those in search of work, might find the optics frustrating.

Whatever the facility condition study finds, I hope that the community, and council will lead with their heads, not their hearts.

I know, it's just two paragraphs, but they were important paragraphs, and it's my fault they were missed in the published editorial.

My apologies for the incomplete editorial, and for the harsh tone with which it had unintentionally closed. One thing we know for certain is that municipal councils will from time to time do or say things worthy of a jab here and there, but this situation wasn't one of them in my opinion – but when the time comes, I will certainly be ready.


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