Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Oh Those Small Towns…Where There’s Not a Lot Goin’ On

By Stephen Vance, Editor

What a year 2014 has been! The past 12 months have been an eclectic mix of the amusing and the less amusing, of politics and community events. There has certainly been a lot going on, and while we’ve highlighted a major story from each month of the past year in our print exclusive feature, there has been so much more than one story each month that tells the story of Meaford in 2014.

Politically, 2014 began with a pitch in January from the Owen Sound Police Service in hopes of securing a police services contract with Meaford, and 2014 ended after a year of public, and at times intense, debate, with the new council voting unanimously to remain with the OPP for Meaford’s policing services.

While the year was bookended by policing, the months in between were filled with everything from cell tower protests to scarecrow building workshops at the harbour.

This week I interviewed Corner Gas creator Brent Butt. He’s just finished promoting the movie release of Corner Gas, nearly five years after the popular show set in rural Saskatchewan ended. The theme song for that television show included some wise words about small towns – You think there’s not a lot goin’ on , but look closer baby you’re so wrong – indeed.

Naturally major issues that are likely to carry with them a divergent pool of opinions hang onto the headlines of newspapers longer than less contentious issues, so a traditional year in review would have clung to those headlines.

Cell Tower Protest Draws a Crowd headlines morphed into discussions about the safety of modern technology, or the growing view that Meaford is becoming a NIMBY community. High taxes and poorly maintained roads were a frequent topic for discussion in 2014, and I suspect they will be hot topics for many years to come as we head full-speed into an infrastructure nightmare that will not be easily or cheaply solved. Add into that mix some heated debates about heritage conservation districts or developers wanting to tear down crumbling buildings in favour of glossy new ones, and you have yourself a busy news year. And we haven’t even mentioned the water tower rehabilitation or the long municipal election campaign that saw more than half of our council replaced with new members!

In our feature this week, we tried to include some of the more important issues, but also some of the fun and interesting things that happened in our community throughout the year.

Where else can you experience kazoo-playing scarecrows, tractor shows, Earth Day park clean-ups, and council candidates standing on a soap box to make their election pitches? Only in Meaford. Although you’ll find similar clusters of fun and interesting stories in pretty much any small town, in Meaford you might land yourself a suspended coffee while you’re resting up, reflecting upon the year that was.

As we all shift into holiday season mode, it’s a good time to take a look back as we prepare for what’s ahead. The Meaford Independent also had one heck of a year, and we are going to take a little break for the next couple of weeks. Our next print paper will be on store shelves on January 9, and our online newspaper will have regular updates throughout the holidays – including of course our very popular tracking of Santa on December 24 courtesy of NORAD.

While 2014 is quickly coming to an end, we can say with certainty that 2015 will be filled with just as many stories, just as many controversies, and just as many community events – and to again quote the theme song from Corner Gas – And that’s why you can stay so long, Where there’s not a lot goin’ on.

Happy holidays to all of our readers, advertisers, and supporters, we look forward to keeping you even more informed than ever in 2015.

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