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Allowing cannabis hurts Thorold's image

Letter to the Editor: Long-time Thorold volunteer disagrees with pot stores

I am a long-time citizen of Thorold and have been a constant volunteer for the city having served on many committees, in addition to 30 years spent on their Municipal Heritage committee as its secretary.  I care about the future of my home town and have given a great deal of my time and effort over these years to help move it into a desirable direction for the future.

With respect to the Cannabis survey, my vote is “no” – and the reasons are as follows :

Thorold is at a crossroads in its history. It is leaving behind its industrial past and moving into a new kind of community where tourism is playing a major role in three areas – The Welland Canal, cycling and heritage. In 2017, the city was awarded The Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership. Personally endorsed by the Prince of Wales in Britain, this is one of the highest and coveted awards a city can receive;  it means that they have been directed to a new path which gives them a clear vision for the future. In addition, the downtown is being revitalized and is drawing people to shop and dine here from all parts of the region and beyond. There is a building boom taking place, and families are moving into Thorold, seeing it as a desirable place to live and to raise their children.  We also have what is called “a parking problem;”  this is a good thing since it means that more and more people are visiting Thorold, spending money here and enjoying their stay. After all, we have a lot to offer!

The success which we are experiencing gives the residents and people in business a new positive and proud outlook.  We need to continue on this desirable path in the months and years ahead and to make all of our decisions wisely. The addition of cannabis stores in Thorold can only give a negative image of our city and take away from the new desirable community we are now in the process of building. We need to take a page from our neighbours in Niagara-on-the-Lake who are taking a cautious approach and prohibiting cannabis stores in their community. The Mayor of NOTL states that, “If we do opt out, we can always opt in; but if we opt in, we can’t opt out.”

The legislation which has been passed by the federal government to legalize the sale of cannabis in Canada is not a wise one and is driven only by money, and the negative implications are too many to mention. Many communities across the country are in the process of making a choice on this issue, and it is hoped that our Mayor and Council will take the high road in their decision. We need to seriously consider any option which will destroy all the positive steps Thorold has taken to improve its conditions and image. These forward steps we are now taking will bring us respect, prosperity and success in the coming years.

We have many new people on our Council for this term. There is a great deal for them to learn and to consider. It is hoped that they will give serious consideration to this decision as well as a great deal of thought to the dire consequences which could result from a “Yes” vote.

Pamela J. Minns