To the Editor:
(Re: “Biz should be welcome”, Jan. 6 Advance, page 7)
I feel a need to respond to the letter sent by Dave Patraschuk regarding the water bottling petition currently circulating in the valley. It seems that anyone who questions the suitability of a particular business venture in our community is quickly branded “against business” and “afraid of change”. To be totally honest, I am thoroughly fed up with this type of comment. Neither I nor, to the best of my knowledge, any others involved in challenging the suitability of the water bottling business venture are “against business”. In fact the people I have worked with regarding this issue are dynamic individuals who deeply love our valley and are committed to its sustainable growth. I would hazard to say that the hundreds of people who have already signed the petition feel the same way.
Mr. Patraschuck indicates in the letter that he is unclear as to what the issues are, yet still feels compelled to advise people not to sign the petition. I hope that people will instead ask questions of those on both sides of this issue. Get the facts and then make an informed decision as to whether they wish to sign the petition or not. That is the basis of democracy and the very core of this issue.
For me it isn’t about whether we have a water bottling plant built in the area or not. It is about the lack of forthright information from the business owner, the circumventing and/or simple disregard for proper procedure by all levels of government involved in this issue and, finally, it is about our ongoing struggle to be a part of the process of deciding what happens in the community. If from the start all of the proper steps had been followed in this situation and the majority had supported this project, I would have had been more than willing to accept that decision as it would reflect the way our democratic process should work. Instead I have seen some of the worst examples of misrepresentation, preferential treatment, government incompetence and apathy imaginable.
If we are going to create businesses in our community then we need to make sure that they ultimately support the whole valley, and are not just designed to be a get rich scheme for a small number of individuals. We need to create sustainable industries that enhance the valley and provide long-term employment without destroying the resources that make our area so beautiful and unique. And, most importantly, we need to make sure the process around creating businesses is transparent and that the citizens of our community have the opportunity to be involved in the process.