View from the Strip
By Casey Lessard

I feel a level of simpatico with Mark Reilly. We’re not friends, not business partners; I met him once and talked to him on the phone once. But I know how he probably feels: he just wants to run a business in Grand Bend within the rules established by the prevailing authority.
When I started the Grand Bend Strip, I got a some nasty looks from people I didn’t know. Others simply ignored me, considered the paper junk mail, or didn’t care. They liked the old way, the other newspaper. But, as I believe Mark Reilly is, I was committed to doing my best every day and showing that I wanted to be part of this community. Luckily, there is a vocal minority – you who are reading this – who said, let’s support this guy. He’s doing something good.
I think Reilly’s dream of making Grand Bend a destination for athletes is a good thing. Somewhere along the line, he screwed up the execution. Too much, too soon. The town just redid the beach and downtown, after all. Add to that a contract that was too long for too little.
But let’s try to determine who is responsible here. It is really Mark Reilly?
Mark Reilly simply made a proposal to run a business. He did nothing wrong in that respect. His idea had no fundamental flaws. However, he made some mistakes by not communicating with residents, by not paying his initial fee, and by not securing insurance for the season. After his first mistake and the resulting meeting May 1, I can’t blame him for making the other two mistakes. He probably didn’t expect this project would happen this summer.
Is it Lambton Shores council, or perhaps the administration, that should bear the blame for the controversy and uproar by a group of concerned citizens? The administration wrote the terms of the agreement under direction of council, and made some critical errors in its construction. After a series of mistakes, council had enough reason to be concerned that it gave 60 days notice to terminate the contract with PVB. Good thing for them that PVB made the mistakes it did.
I’m going to take it one step further, though. If council and the administration are responsible for this mess, then perhaps the person ultimately responsible is you. After all, you voted in the council and they direct the administration.
I want to hear who you think is responsible. Visit our website and answer our poll, which is active now. It’s an early way to express your opinion to council. You’ll get another opportunity in October with the municipal election.
Regardless of your opinion, it looks like this project will go ahead. Ed Fluter says those supporting this project are a silent minority. But when it comes down to decision time, there may be a more important portion of the population that emerges. They’re the ones who vote in the councilors for wards other than Grand Bend. And when the residents of Grand Bend say, not in my backyard, are they listening? If not, who is in the majority here?