VOCO Update
by Lynne Boldt

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October 17, 2002

      It's not just the Fall leaves blowing around out there these days, it seems the taxpayers' money continues to be blown pretty fast too. You may recall in the last Update I mentioned the $33,000. motion passed to allow Lindsay to add to it's "beautification" plans. Well, no sooner had the ink dried on that motion than I also heard of $176,500. being run through new digital photocopiers five times to represent the next five years. But then our Fire Chief announced that to promote efficiency our fire equipment is going to be downsized by about half. That's good news right? Wrong, because no sooner did he announce the efficient way he's going to cut all this equipment, then he proceeds to tell us we're going to spend $7 million (there's that amount again) to update all our useless equipment so our fire departments can do their jobs.

      Well in spite of all of this, there is good news people. As fast as this new "City" seems to be spending our money, so too are the numbers of people growing who've finally had enough. Just three weeks ago in Pontypool about 200 people showed up for a public Townhall meeting to discuss, what else? Taxes, Services and Amalgamation. Now last week, in Manvers, close to 700 people jammed the Arena to standing room only (with some that still were turned away outside). Ward 16 Councillor Dave Marsh sponsored a Townhall meeting never expecting the response he got. Many VOCO supporters also attended the meeting to see what was in the wind, and were not totally surprised when one taxpayer asked the crowd to raise their hands if anyone had seen a reduction in their tax bill - not one hand was raised. Then they were asked to raise their hands if anyone had seen an increase in their services - again no hands. Finally, the people were asked to raise their hands if they were prepared to go further and commit to whatever it takes to restore accountable government, even if it meant a longterm battle - every hand in the room shot straight up and remained up until applause took over.

      It seems to me that the voices in the County are not about to be silent any longer. Taxpayers, aka voters, have had enough.

      To accomodate the VOCO supporters that wanted to attend Councillor Marsh's Townhall, we bumped our general meeting to the Wednesday night, October 9 where we too were impressed with the amount of new faces in attendance at the Lions Hall in the Fenelon Fairgrounds. Many new ideas were presented and discussed, with a key component of the evening being Fund-raising ideas. While VOCO is mega-millions removed from the City's expenses, we do occasionally encounter copying, mailing, and other incidental expenses that go beyond volunteer donations. In response to the positive reaction a few VOCO people received to their new "T-shirts", it was agreed that we will now accept orders for both T-shirts and sweatshirts. Ordering information is available on the VOCO website at www.geocities.com/vocomail or you may contact B.Wilson at (705)340-3843 for additonal information or to place your order and be part of this new 'fashion statement'.

      Of course, Bumper Stickers are still available for only a "twooney" and look great on cars AND mailboxes. And the old standby is the yellow ribbon. Yellow ribbons can be used on mailboxes, fence posts, lamp posts, lapels, trees, car aerials ... basically anywhere. Anything yellow that can be tied represents a yellow ribbon - tie one on for free!!! You can support VOCO financially or demonstratively...it's all welcome news to us.

      VOCO will again be sponsoring one of their Townhall meetings this Tuesday (Oct.15) in Bolsover, followed by our re-scheduled General Meeting on Thursday (Oct.17) in Bobcaygeon at the Full Cup Cafe, beginning at 7pm. This change in schedule is to accomodate Councillor McGregor's Townhall in Omemee on Wed. Oct. 23, 7pm at Coronation Hall as well as Councillor Villemaire's Townhall at the Little Britain Arena/Community Centre on Thur. Oct. 24 also beginning at 7pm. The resurgence of these "local" Townhall meetings can only be seen as a step in the right direction. If you agree, demonstrate your approval with your appearance, and if you support your fellow residents - attend their's as well. If your councillor has not yet had one in your municipality, give 'em a call and request one. It should be easy, they should supply if you demand, if they don't........you should know what that means too.

      One other "Hall" that we plan to visit very soon, is the hallowed halls of Queens' Park. Plans are now in the preliminary stages, but definitely on the drawing board, for our next excursion to Toronto. If you have not signed a postcard to our MPP yet, or have not sent yours in, please do so as soon as possible. Attend the Townhall meetings and follow this column for specific details as soon as they are released. Busses will be booked on a first-come, first-serve basis so don't miss out. If you'd like to be notified personally when details are final send us an email at info@voconews.com with the subject being "Queens Park" and you will be notified directly. To those without computers, you can always call us at (705)738-6039 or (705)887-4797.

      With every two weeks that pass, it is becoming more and more evident that M.L.King had a valid point when he said "the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at moments of challenge and controversy". To everyone that is now standing, thank you...to those that haven't tried yet, what are you waiting for?

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