EDITOR - TODD LIHOU: A look ahead to the new year

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We’ve written enough about Christmas this month – so I thought I would look ahead to the new year.

As media people we often get labelled as arrogant, because it looks like we think we know everything (believe me, we don’t).

And when you write for a living, especially in a small community like ours, not to mention pass judgement on events, issues and people on a regular basis, it doesn’t take long before others start to ask “Who made you an expert?”

The answer is pretty simple: nobody, because we’re not experts. Heck, if I can get to the end of this column without making a typpo I’ll be lucky.

We try to offer up an everyman (and everywoman) perspective on things each week in this space, balancing common sense with a dash of opinion that will make you think (not too hard), and perhaps provoke a response.

It’s with that in mind that we look ahead to 2014 with a wish list of sorts. Call it a public resolution list/crystal ball forecast that we hope can somehow see itself through to reality.

Waterfront tanks

The biggest story of the year happened at the end of 2013. Word spread like wildfire about the construction of a pair of chemical tanks on our waterfront. Of course just days after news broke, Transport Minister Lisa Raiit embroiled herself in the Canada Post announcement. We hope she finds the time soon to do more than send her lackey to Cornwall to collect opinions. Chuck Charlebois hit the nail on the head when he said even if stopping the construction now costs taxpayers some money, it’s an investment in our future. It will only cost us more years from now when those tanks are rotting the heart out of our development plans.

City budget 2014

It’s budget time, and the election is less than a year away. City council appears to be setting itself up to carve some savings out of the fiscal process. Councillors have directed administration to produce a document that illustrates the impact of what a tax freeze would mean for municipal services. It says here there will be plenty of talk of disaster at every turn should such a scenario unfold. And maybe that will prove to be true. But let’s at least have the discussion. I bet some common ground can be found.

Lift-Off 2014

Contrary to popular belief in the blogosphere, we haven’t reported anything on balloons drifting into the U.S. since a column I wrote back in the summer. That being said, we look forward to next year and (hopefully) a return of balloons to Lamoureux Park. Don’t blame the organizers for moving the launch to Avonmore last year. If the winds are going to blow the balloons into the U.S., and clearly American customs officials don’t want that to happen, what else do you expect Lift-Off organizers to do? Next year will mark the 20th edition of the festival and I’m betting the board will do its best to reach that milestone – even if the event’s debt is measured in tens of thousands.

Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup Parade

Hey, I can dream, can’t I? Moving right along…

New bridge opening

Remember the good old days when you could travel north on Brookdale Avenue all the way to Cornwall Centre Road and all you had to do was navigate the red lights? Sigh…what a glorious time. Any day now we are expected to be told those days will return, thanks to the opening of the new low-level bridge in the Seaway City. Which means the days of the existing bridge are numbered, not to mention that border checkpoint at the base of the bridge we all love. The removal of the existing bridge will change the skyline of our city forever, and I for one will miss the old girl – even if her potholes have managed to rattle the fillings from my teeth. (Check next week’s edition for a rant on what we should do with the old bridge).

New construction

While the skyline will be different here in Fun City, closer to the ground things are changing too. When I grew up the lot at the corner of Seventh and Cumberland streets was just a little foreboding, with its dilapidated buildings and dusty parking lot. The next generation will only know that area as a hub of commerce, with a new Wal-Mart set to anchor a shopping plaza. Other new construction on Ninth Street, not to mention additions to the industrial park, suggest the landscape in Cornwall will look different in years to come.

Let’s hope we can just do something about those damn waterfront tanks, to ensure the future is bright, instead of blighted.

Organizations: Canada Post, Wal-Mart

Geographic location: Cornwall, U.S., Lamoureux Park Avonmore Brookdale Avenue Seaway Fun Ninth Street

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