Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Ball in Breslau's Court - Community Building

Last night, September 29, 2015, a Committee of the Whole meeting occurred in the Township of Woolwich council chambers on 24 Church Street in Elmira. The key issue of the night was a discussion of the WCDSB proposal to purchase land in Breslau to build a new elementary school.  The land in question is pictured above.  The goal of the school board was to partner with the township and share the gymnasium facilities.  This project was presented to the public in February 2015 if you are new to this situation scroll down through this blog to catch up on the details.  At the meeting last night the Councillors were to vote on accepting this proposal and moving  it to the next stage or denying it.

There were 9 delegations that registered to speak on the project, 6 of them (including myself) spoke against the project, 1 was neutral, and 2 were supportive of the project.  Everything about this project has demonstrated that the community was deeply and equally divided and this meeting was no different.
In the end there were 3 Councillors who voted against the project (Bauman, Merlihan, L.Shantz)  and 1 Councillor (Martin) and the Mayor (S.Shantz) who voted for the project.  Councillor Hahn was not present and did not vote.  
Before each of them voted they spoke about how difficult this project was to vote on.  Each side of this issue had valid points and had many supporters.  The specific details of this meeting, who said what, who was right, who made mistakes, who was misleading, and who was wrong are not important. I voted for Councillor Shantz, Councillor Martin and Mayor Shantz, if that vote was held again today I would vote for them again. They all did their job as best as they could and they represented those who voted for them. The reason the three Councillors voted against the project was because they were putting their trust in Breslau. They spoke loud and clear and with their votes and said, "Ok Breslau, if this isn't how you want your park to be upgraded, the ball is in your court.  What's the plan?"

I deeply respect Councillor Martin and Mayor Shantz for voting the way they felt was right.  Breslau is divided and so was council this is expected.  We live in a country were we can celebrate diversity and disagree with each other respectfully.  In the end my side won, but the sober evening after what does that mean? I remember the night I wrote my first blog post on this topic.  I thought in the back of my mind, "What if I win?" One of the delegation said something very true, he said, "If we don't do anything to the park for the next 20 years we are going to regret that we didn't take this deal."  I whole heartily agree with this statement.  We, as a community, now need to step up more than ever before, we have to live up to the trust that council has put into us.  No more complaining that Elmira gets everything, no more whining.  Now is the time for action!  We have to let the past drift away as we build our future.  I plan on being in Breslau for a long time and I want to make it a great place.

I would like to begin the healing process right now.  I want to reach out to everyone in Breslau and say what next?  How do we build our community into something we can all say we are proud of.  Our individual positions on this project are now irrelevant.  We have a community to build and maintain.  That is not up to Council, that is up to us.

Sonya Willsher spoke passionately at the meeting that we as Breslau can come together to do this.  Sonya wanted me to put the challenge out to Breslau.  If you want to be part of organizing and fundraising for new park equipment, facilities and/or library please contact either Sonya at or me at  We want to recruit those in Breslau who want to build our community together.  This project has woken everyone up, now it is time to capitalize on that and get to work.  There have been many historical examples of great things that Breslau residents have done.  It is time for all of us new comers to do our part.

I would also like to reach out to the established groups already in Breslau, I am aware of the Lions Club and the Breslau Recreation Association.  Those groups already do great work in Breslau and we don't want to conflict their efforts. The Lion's Splash Pad project is an example of a project that has had significant amounts of work and hours of volunteer time put in.  This is a project we need to move forward now that this is cleared up. If there are any other groups in Breslau please let us know so we can be as coordinated and as efficient as we can.

I am excited about where we have come from and I am even more excited about where we are going.  Let us all go there together.

PS. GO Jays GO! AL East CHAMPS!!!!!!


  1. Thanks for your passion on this topic. Thanks for making our community a better place to live. Please blog your next topic that you feel builds our community and I will see about helping out.

    1. Thanks for your support. I think the next topics that we need to cover as a community will be what projects are we going to working on. Stay tuned :)