Letters to the editor – December 12

Reader: Not town’s job to sustain businesses

To the editor,
In the article “Beach is fine; focus on Main Street first” (Nov. 21), it was suggested that responsibility for the loss of several full-time, year-round businesses in the past year rests, perhaps partially, on the shoulders of municipal government. This seems to me an inadequate assessment. It is unfortunate that the community has lost several year-round businesses in the past year, but to ignore the circumstances surrounding each individual closure and instead equate the folding of those businesses with a failure on the part of the municipality is a misconception. For example, Saga Bound was forced to close its doors mainly because of the problem most other small-town, independent bookstores face: competing with larger bookstores such as Chapters and Indigo who offer substantial discounts on the bestsellers and Canadian literature titles that Saga Bound predominantly stocked. Given these circumstances, I fail to understand how “better infrastructure in terms of benches and the sidewalk” could have prevented Saga Bound’s closure. Several of the other businesses mentioned in the article were forced to close for altogether different reasons, confronted by any combination of specific industry-related, professional, and personal circumstances. Furthermore, the high turnover rate of businesses in Grand Bend – seasonal and year-round – is part of the turbulent reality of operating an independent business in a small, seasonal community. Proprietors must enter this environment unable to fully predict the sustainability and lifespan of a business. Again, I fail to understand how Ward 1 could be “trying to make sure that stops.”
Our pride and care for the community and landscape are always implicit, and have been made sufficiently clear with regard to this issue. We all love Grand Bend. However, to argue for or against the beach enhancement plan with emotionally patriotic rhetoric (such as turning a lament for lost businesses into an issue of inadequate municipal initiative downtown) is not productive, nor rooted in any economic or political reality. I ask those who truly care about the community to approach this issue and hinge moment with the respect it demands by thinking critically, constructively, and realistically.
Charles Dodgson
Grand Bend

Clarification: the article “Beach is fine; focus on Main Street first” (Nov. 21) mentioned that Royal LePage had left Main Street. The realtor maintains an office on Ontario St. N.

You sent an email asking about splash pads and whether sand was an issue. I just got your email (Nov. 27). The amount of sand that gets into the splash pad is minimal. The splash pad itself is very popular.
Roger Sabine
Parks Director, Millennium Park
Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan

To the editor,
I would personally like to thank the people who helped in the Grand Bend Legion kitchen for November 17’s spaghetti dinner. It was a total success. Special thanks to: Gayle MacGregor, Randy Rapley, Joan McCullough, Anne McElone, Sandra Stanlake, Al Noxell, Mike Tieman, Jeanette Wales.
Thank you from Sheila Tiedeman