‘This latest bout of apathy … makes me question if the town really cares’

The Editor:

Now this campground and community building thing is an epic saga that has me rather confused and somewhat astounded.

My home town of Iroquois just unanimously turned down personal gifts of over $300,000.

Why? Seemingly from the article below because the gift was too large. The town voted that they would rather build a smaller building for $350k instead of a larger one for $650k where the extra $300k was covered by confirmed donations.

Was it because the prime benefactor, John Ross, my father, couldn’t be trusted to come up with the money? Ross Video was one of the backers joined by many well known community members, and of course my father who was offering the vast majority. I can tell you the money was absolutely secure. Reading the article in a local newspaper, it seems that the question wasn’t even asked and instead assumed that it wasn’t. There were no “next steps” to secure the funding if there were doubts, just a vote to cancel the project.

Was it because they don’t believe that John Ross, recipient of a national Order of Canada Medal, can do the job? The same man that brought Ross Video to the town? The same man that built the runway, drained the mosquito infested swamp that was the park, built walking paths, enhanced the beach, built the hanger, ran 40 years of fly ins, and more?

Was it because the project didn’t bring value? From the article it seems that turning this fantastically generous offer down puts at risk the fly in, the campground, the lawn bowling, and a big part of the social heart of the community. Did I mention that the expansion was free to the town regardless?

Did the project just “feel too big”? Surely the presence of Ross Video in the town should be an inspiration that the town of Iroquois can make greatness happen. Many may not realize that Ross Video has grown by almost 100x in revenue since 1991 and global employment is approaching 800 this year. Council should also know this, some having recently visited the high tech Iroquois factory, now just one of over 20 buildings around the world.

Was it because some people didn’t like my father’s request that his name be placed on the building? When you raise over $300k, have done all this for the town, and are 84 years old, what’s the harm in that? Is it worth $300k to the town to refuse?

Was it because it didn’t seem that John Ross was properly committed to seeing the project through? That’s unimaginable given the year of work he’s already put in, consultations, plans, endless council meetings and discussions, and of course the $300k commitment.

Was it because the residents were not sufficiently engaged in the project or decided to just sit back and watch? That, of everything, may well be the prime reason for the failure. The article clearly states that there were zero emails and zero phone calls in support of John Ross and his latest project for the town. I saw the same thing at the start of the Seaway school closure. There weren’t nearly enough people to even circle the school track. That initial response was also disheartening. (In the end though, we filled the gym to capacity and won.)

I can’t help but write that I’m extremely disheartened to see this come to pass. John Ross and Ross Video have done a lot for the town directly and indirectly. This latest bout of apathy though makes me question if the town really cares.

All I see are articles in the press cheering on those that want to see him fail, not rallying a town to do something meaningful for current and future generations.

If you do care, you should actually stand up and support what John Ross is trying to do for you.

I live in Ottawa and have a soft spot for Iroquois, but this is your town.

David Ross

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