Port Matters

By Frances Kennedy
(March 2020)
– “Interesting times” is how historians describe periods of seismic shifts in global geopolitics. Right now, at the turn of a decade, polarity is epidemic and current crises proliferate prophesies of what’s up down the road. What matters right here in Port and what matters right now world-wide recommends unifying citizenry through values and vision. Civic leaders who fail to honour cultural values fail the public trust and fuel divisiveness by default dimming all hope for anything like enlightened progress. What rallies us to belonging to something greater than ourselves? No surprise to anyone who has stood straight as a soldier during our national anthem it’s what we declare we stand for. What matters to our community? What do we wish to be going forward? What is “the Port Stanley experience?” The echo of community advocacy will be our landmark legacy.

February can be a bleak but blessedly short month and this year it was neither. As of this writing the frenzy of activity on both sides of the bridge made the Mardi Gras Stork Club night at PSFT a sellout. Restaurant, retail and hospitality themed offerings made Port an ideal weekend destination in friends’ and lovers’ month. Well done! Bravo and thank you to Ed Finlan who conceived the idea and orchestrated the event. Imagine if bringing back jazz and swing all started the night of 02/22/2020!

I was disappointed to miss The Blessing of The Nets at Port Stanley Presbyterian Church: its tradition is bound in the safety and bounty for a long lineage of local livelihoods. Next up was The Harbour Information night which confirmed that public access to shoreline is critical to not only our present and future quality of life, it’s an economic factor for the of the entire County of Elgin. To the assembled Council representatives, municipal staff and consulting engineers, thank you. No doubt you can expect more specific questions and more illuminating answers required on a schedule that ensures input from public consultations is relevant.

Up next, the 6th Annual Polar Bear Plunge in aid of ChildCan happens on Little Beach on March 7. The event has swelled in numbers in recent years as an early harbinger of spring. Katey Berzins’ past sponsors, photo fans and social media followers should know her team is taking the plunge again.

Apparently, the bridge will be made whole temporarily for the Dicken’s Night Parade this year.  Someone suggested an Andy Griffith look-alike whistling across the bridge from Mayberry to Margaritaville wearing a Hawaiian shirt and bearing a badge. Humour can help bridge a great divide and it puts a little spring in our step. 

Recently I received an email of a Stay Tooned Port Stanley cartoon of a couple on the bridge surveying the harbour flanked on both sides with high-rise towers with the caption “What happened Mildred?” Most certainly the worst-case scenario, it is not an unfounded fear. “Increased green space” doesn’t tell us all we need to know. Who’s driving the bus, and to what end? Council is only able to represent the interests of its constituents when they are known; our role is to articulate those interests. Administrators, public servants, consulting engineers and developers furnish a version of what’s feasible within the parameters. It behooves us to understand the processes and learn what not to do from in and around Grand Bend and other lakeside communities. When we practice our best future, we create it.