LETTER TO THE EDITOR *
“It is interesting to note how thoughtlessly legislation can be changed in St. Joseph Township.
On December 8, 2022, council will meet to discuss an amendment to the Highway Commercial (HC) Zone by-law to remove private schools and commercial schools from operating in these zoned areas. It appears that council heard a rumour that I had purchased St. Joe’s Diner and Mayor Wildman immediately sought to amend the HC zone by-law to remove private and commercial schools from operating in these designated areas.
If amended, this will be the second anti-tourism amendment in the last six months. The first occurred in Spring 2022 when the Township approved the closure of the only motel in the township thereby putting an end to readily available overnight lodging by visitors.
This amendment will have equally devastating economic outcomes. It is common knowledge that private and commercial schools drive the local economy by increasing traffic to the schools location while in session. Additionally, it promotes a year-round economy allowing businesses to gain extra business income in unexpected winter months due to the proximity of the school and the arrival of students, parents and teachers.
Akin to medical tourism whereby people MUST travel for medical appointments and procedures thereby increasing local revenue in the hotel, restaurant and retail sector – educational tourism has the same tourist benefits to the local community as students, teachers and parents will adopt new life spending patterns for dining and shopping as adults and children are taught in the area.
Could you imagine a culinary institute which teaches cooking and then offers residents a reserved dining spot to taste the new creations. Or imagine a music or dance studio which brings mainlanders to the island where parents would enjoy a coffee and treat at a nearby coffee shop or buy essentials at the local hardware shop. The opportunities are endless for any commercial school to be profitable while increasing revenue to the nearby businesses. Alternatively, with many parents choosing alternative to public school educational plans for their children we could see the expansion of a Montessori school take root in our community.
When I asked the Township for clarification on the reason for the amendment to the zoning by-law, they confirmed to me that they had heard the rumour that I was relocating the Christian School and that they received resident concerns. When I asked them to provide a copy of the resident’s concerns (redacted of course) and the economic study that was prepared in consideration of the reduction of institutional uses they did not respond.
Anyone in business knows that it is hard to make money in business without personal sacrifice. Not only does the Township’s juvenile approach to legislative change directly impede educational tourism it restricts the options of business owners in a rural community.”
Katherine I. Henshell
- * The above letter is the opinion of the writer only & does not represent Border City Rock Talk. If you comment, please do so in a respectful manner.
SOCIALS & STUFF
**Alcoholics Anonymous meets every Friday night at 7pm at the rear entrance of the Harmony St Marks United Church on Richards Street. If you think you may have a problem, feel free to attend and/or call 705 254 1312.
**Alcoholics Anonymous meets every Sunday afternoon at 2pm at the Bruce Mines Library.
**Children’s Christmas Party at the Legion will be on Saturday December 10th from 12 noon until 2pm. Register your kids 10 and under for games and fun by calling Kathy at 705 246 2381 or 705 246 2494.
**Free or VERY inexpensive toys for kids for Christmas ; please call 257-8678 or 297-5970 for information
**St Joseph Island Food Band 1-3pm every Wednesday. The Harmony St Marks United Church.