]This morning I heard on CBC about the former Township of Syndenham who wants to de-amalgamate from the town of Meaford. It got me thinking about The Village of Rosseau which was forced to amalgamate to create the Township of Seguin with predominately Georgian Bay communities.
Officially we are no longer Muskoka. We are the District of Parry Sound. In fact, we are in Northern Ontario which no one ever believes. (Every time I talk to a government grant organization they argue with me because they think we are Muskoka…until I make them pull out a map!)
I would guess that a fair bit of the taxes per capita that support Seguin Township come from the Village and the surrounding cottages on Lake Rosseau, and yet we have the least number of roads to care . Our main arteries are provincial. Roads are what we always hear about as being the biggest part of the township’s budget…Right next to staff salaries. (At a recent Township finance committee it was pointed out that staff have seen a continuous raise of 7% year after year. The township replied with that much of the previously contracted work is now done by members of the staff. ISN’T THAT WHAT THE F**K THEY ARE BEING PAID FOR?)
Someone might argue that since amalgamation Rosseau has seen great improvements like the waterfront, hall renovations, a basketball court and Nursing station. All of these were a result of the Province and Tony Clement giving out political hand outs. Don’t even talk about that G-8 fiasco. We also hear about Seguin being debt free. Well how difficult was that? All they did was increase taxes and take things away like garbage pickup…oh yes, and get rid of outside contracted work!
Over the years Rosseau has seen a steady decline of business activity. This week we lost our gas station! Forget the winter! MTO piles up the snow and no one shovels because it’s five feet deep! Since moving to the village I have witnessed or participated in two studies, one of which was a vision exercise for Rosseau. What a load of crap! They paid a Toronto planning firm fifteen thousand dollars to tell us what we already knew or suggest stupid things like we needed a hardware store that sold socks? Of course they neglected to mention that the General Store has a a good hardware section already.
Whenever anyone in Rosseau or on Lake Rosseau wants something we have to run to council and ask permission from a group of all men, none of which, except our own, is ever seen in or cares about the town or its businesses. It’s time Seguin Township acknowledges that the Village of Rosseau is DOWNTOWN SEGUIN. I have heard on more than one occasion that Council hates the whining people of Rosseau. Well get ready boys, you ain’t heard nothing yet.
You are probably wondering what got my knickers in a knot that has set me off on this rant. I’ll tell you. I just finished preparing a business plan for the Rosseau Culture and Arts Project (RCAP) for which I am the executive director. It not just a cultural plan. It’s a business plan that could help to save Rosseau from turning into Bridgadoon, a village that appears to have life only a few weeks in the summer. It’s an ambitious plan and we have solicited the expertise of very talented people to help out.
The plan is called “Destination Rosseau”. It is a play on the fact that when Billy Bishop started the first chartered airlines in Canada he flew passengers in a float plane from Toronto to Rosseau , which makes us “Canada’s first destination”. We are also the site of the first Ontario resort, the Pratt’s Rosseau House. We were also home to the Monteith Hotel, which became the only resort that allowed Jews when bought by the Shopsowitz (Shopsy’s Deli) during a time when anti-Semitism was rampant in the rest of Muskoka. If you go to Seguin Township’s website all they promote historically is the Humphrey School House. How stupid is that?
“Destination Rosseau” is a five year plan that involves growing cultural activity in the village. We are planning to bring back seasons of The Muskoka Theatre Project which will include a staging of “Billy Bishop Goes to War” next year to commemorate the beginning of WWI. We are also premiering my new comedy called “The Audit”, inspired by my experience of being raked over the coal by Revenue Canada.
The plan sees an expansion of the TWG Gallery, RCAP’s Rosseau Academy of Arts and Practical Science offering workshops and camps to adults and kids, a film series called “Films for The Universal Soul” and a two day Muskoka Film Festival throughout the village. We are also producing a one day art and culinary arts fair called “Art a la Carte” and a Christmas festival called “a Village Christmas”.
Separate from the programming, we are planning to raise to funds to create a home of our own, The Rosseau Playhouse. This will be a multi-functional facility in which we can programme activity without asking the township for permission! We have the land, however we are going to need to get it rezoned. Yes, with the township and council’s stamp of approval!
I know there are some who think that with this attitude I’m going to ruffle feathers and create enemies. I don’t f**king care. You see, previous to this I spent two years preparing budgets and soliciting the Town of Gravenhurst council with a plan that would have seen the Gravenhurst Opera House become a fully functional, self-sustaining facility. After many meetings I was told it was too ambitious and council were afraid of the plan. Before that I spent five years developing programmes for Red Leaves Resort and Tapatoo only to have both of them go tits up because they didn’t know how to manage themselves.
So do I sound pissed? You bet I am. I’m tired of being the nice guy and having to ask permission. If RCAP does not get the full support of Township I will close the gallery and get the hell out of Dodge! They can answer to the thousands of people who have shown support of our proposal and wonder why in Rosseau you can’t get gas, or a decent meal on Monday and Tuesday, or why on Townships website they repeat over and over the stale fact that Seguin was once declared the most artistic place in Ontario by some survey and yet they show nothing but links to activity in Parry Sound!
The motto on the sign when you enter town states “Welcome to the Village of Rosseau…Proud past. Promising future”. Wha?
’til the week ends