The Township of Scugog recently held a catered event, to celebrate the launch of a new tourism website, promoting our town and its local businesses. From photos seen on social media, senior staff, the mayor, members of council and even the regional chair were in attendance.
Behind the veil of marketing is the grim reality that our infrastructure has reached a critical state. Residents and tourists alike have complained of flat tires, bent rims and cracked windshields, as a result of driving into potholes this spring, yet these reports are but quaint anecdotes when compared to serious incidents like the school bus carrying children getting stuck on Mast Rd., and nearly toppling over, or the ambulance that was stranded on Cragg Rd while responding to an emergency. When emergency vehicles can’t respond to calls, due to infrastructure deficiencies, lives are put at risk; an alarming liability given the landmark case on Coates Rd.
Within this context, the optics of marketing campaigns and events are questionable, as are the $90,000 budgeted for yet another waterfront study, $24,000 for a “wayfinding” strategic plan, $45,000 for a dog park, or $10,000 for a mascot costume (since removed) from the 2019 budget. While residents in Nestleton are out grading their own roads with garden tractors, tens of thousands are being spent lighting Cartwright Fields. Despite the New Animal Shelter of Uxbridge and Scugog project being jeopardized by significant delays and cost overruns (Scugog has already committed $399,000), Mayor Drew insists it’s “a key project to move forward.”
The township must focus on meeting its basic municipal responsibilities. Not internet ventures or renovating the white-elephant (now red) on Queen St., for the benefit of private interests.
Improve our image by addressing the rotting bell tower, greeting visitors on Reach St., the welcome signs with conflicting dates of establishment, and a dimly lit Queen St., resulting from replacing wobbly streetlights with orange pylons. Continue repairing sidewalks, address rural roads so those headed to bed & breakfasts in the country don’t feel like they’re driving on the moon, and ensure ambulances can reach them in case of emergency.
Scugog truly is a wonderful place, but it faces critical challenges which can no longer be ignored. The new tourism slogan is “One big beautiful lake. Hundreds of adventures.” Getting around safely shouldn’t be one of them.
Marc Gibbons, Port Perry.
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