The following are Letters to the Editor published in the March 16 edition of the Minden Times.
Concern for Carmount, Cultural Centre
To the Editor,
The following is an open letter to the mayor and members of Minden Hills council:
I was shocked to learn of the end of the employment of Laurie Carmount as the curator at the Minden Hills Cultural Centre.
I am well aware that personnel matters are beyond your purview for public comment. I am also aware that over the years, Ms. Carmount struggled hard to create a gallery that our community is proud of, a facility that attracts visitors from far beyond Minden Hills and fulfilled the dream of its namesake, Dr. Agnes Jamieson.
The extensive André Lapine holdings are the envy of small community galleries across this country and beyond. Many of those paintings are community treasures inspired by the very landscapes that surround us right here in Minden Hills.
Under Ms. Carmount’s guidance our community was exposed to visiting exhibits that broadened everyone’s appreciation of art and offered opportunities to meet artists who would likely never pass this way. At the same time, she created time and space for local artists to showcase their work and helped them gain recognition for their talents.
The Agnes Jamieson Gallery, the Minden Hills Museum and Heritage Village and Nature’s Place were all inspired by personal commitments and visions that emerged from our community. The buildings, but more importantly the ideas and effort they embody, represent tangible evidence that our fellow citizens cared enough to make this corner a touchstone of our community. My fear is that Ms. Carmount’s departure is but a first step in dismantling this legacy.
The council needs to offer the citizens of Minden Hills assurances that the cultural centre is not about to be abandoned and in fact every effort should be made to enhance and improve the facility. A public acknowledgement of Ms. Carmount’s contribution to the centre’s growth and success over her many years of service would also be in order.
‘Hidden benefits’ of Airbnbs
To the Editor,
RE: County to conduct survey of short-term rentals, March 2 Times
Dysart et al Mayor Andrea Roberts has hit the nail on the head. We really need to make sure to capture all the wonderful hidden benefits of Airbnbs. For instance, look at the landfill space being saved when renters dump their garbage by the side of the road when their rental is over. And that’s good, because our spendthrift municipal governments won’t have commercial tax revenue from regulated accommodation businesses to throw at wasteful projects like roads and bridges much longer thanks to these “innovative” new businesses that pay the same residential (not business) taxes as you and I!
And gosh, so much better to not have to deal with all that pesky licensing and inspection nonsense, not to mention having more waterfront lands to throw developers’ way once those old school lodging businesses go under. Brilliant!
And look at how residents and cottagers benefit too! Up with the birds on those beautiful summer mornings because the all-night party next door made it impossible to sleep. No rushing to get to town because the road is blocked once again by the renter’s car that has slid off the road after they blithely drove past the “four-wheel-drive only” sign in their Honda Civic in January. A chance to feel good about protecting the environment by picking up that garbage left behind because, hey, sure the “host” left landfill tags, but the landfill is “out of the way.” Of course, getting to meet new people who swear at you, threaten you or tell you they’ll party their lungs out if they like is always an interesting learning experience from which we can all gain so much.
I look forward to Ms. Roberts’s further insights on how having highly disruptive, unregulated businesses operating in residential neighbourhoods is a boon for the county.