We would like to commend John Bolt for his frequent expressions of opinion in your
online newspaper; not only for his thoughtful comments, but for his command of logic
and grammar. No doubt, John may have been the benefactor of a sound education at
Arthur Voaden in St. Thomas during his high school years.
John's point was, we take it, that a rather small minority of Port Stanley residents
had prevailed upon our council to establish yet another level of expensive bureaucratic
administration of something called a designated heritage area. If this question
had been put to the entire voting population of Central Elgin with any real assessment
of future costs and impacts on the development of the village, we suspect that the
issue would have received an entirely different reception.
We also wonder where this group of people were when the Loder-Miller shanty on Main
Street was torn down last year. Did anybody, including the Knights in Shining Armour
of our Heritage group, bother to measure or photograph it? We did. The same group
was alerted to the fact that Captain Matt Payne's original Post Office, which had
long since been moved to Hill Street, was about to be destroyed. They took no action.
Designation and preservation, apparently, is in the eye of the beholder.
We take complete umbrage at the inference that some people don't care about the
history of Port Stanley. In December of 1937, John Bolt's uncle was among those
who died in the collapse of the coffer dam while the King George VI Bridge was under
construction. Hell, Mr. McNeil, you were not even born when that happened, so how
do you dare question the commitment of others, such as John Bolt, to the past and
the future of Port Stanley? John Bolt could tell you more about the heritage of
this village in five minutes than you are likely to learn in fifteen years. You
ought, at least, to show a bit of humility and respect when you are responding to
one of the families that helped establish this community more than a hundred years
ago. We are appalled, Mr. McNeil, at your lack of sensitivity on this point alone.
Port Stanley, according to Mr. McNeil, is on the cusp of some great changes. We
would like to point out that this has always been the case. Because the electorate,
unfortunately, decided to elect a newcomer as its Ward One representative rather
than someone with some sense of the heritage of this community, does not in any
way give validation to the opinions of Mr. McNeil over those of John Bolt.
We understand that municipal finances are complicated by Central Elgin's lack of
an industrial tax base. Anybody who thinks that problem can be solved by turning
Port Stanley into another Niagara-on-the-Lake is labouring under a tremendous burden
Mr. McNeil does not address one point that John Bolt makes with which we emphasize.
We built most of our house and some small portion of this community with our own
hands. We do not believe that our contribution was any greater than that of John
and Betty Jean Bolt, but we share their fear that the day is not far off when municipal
taxation will drive us out of house and home.
We wonder which priority is uppermost: a new level of questionable commitment to
designation of a heritage district, or the genuine concerns of people who have some
legitimate concerns about our future but are supposed to be satisfied with a few
catch phrases about our past and our future.
Frank and Nancy Prothero
Port Stanley, ON