The following was published in the Oct 25 issue of the Shelburne County (Nova Scotia) Coast Guard in response to the vigilante atmosphere there relating to multi-national Canadian corporation Cooke Aquaculture plans to install five or more massive salmon feed lots in the pristine bays and harbours surrounding the historic coastal town of Shelburne.

by Timothy Gillespie…

This past July, at a meeting here about aquaculture development, a friend made a request of the provincial officials there that, at first blush, I have to say I found offensive. The friend asked that, when deciding whether to allow several more fish farms in the local bays and harbours, officials take into account mostly the desires and opinions of year-round residents here.  Since then though, I have come full circle on the matter.

tg_passport_2 There is really no reason why any community – or culture – can not act to preserve its core values and to rid it self of unhealthy and unwanted influences.  As a year-round resident myself, I have noticed an exaggerated presence of these “part timers” in local affairs and maybe it’s time we put a stop to it. First thing we might do is to change provincial legislation so that people living away part – or all – of the year cannot vote for local candidates. That would be a start.

Another place these PTs show up is on all of the committees and non-profit groups, which some say are the life blood of our community and through which we express the collective values we all cherish. I’m on one festival committee where the head guy lives away part time, but for years, we have still allowed him to spend hundreds of hours and lots of his own money contributing to this committee – and the event – for who knows what nefarious ends.

There was even a time a few years back when a big, multi-use community project ran into a serious money crunch which would have put the brakes on the project –maybe for good – and one of these PTs insisted on bailing out the project with his own cash.  That saved the project from certain failure, but at what cost? We never know the evil which lurks in some people’s hearts.

I know some of these PTs personally and serve on various committees and fundraising efforts with them and now I’m inclined to rethink all of that. When these folks offer to help out, donate money or resources or contribute some of their limited time here, we should all probably be suspicious, and from now on I will be. The provincial newspaper even did a full page story on one of them this month, as if her fame on Broadway or in movies matters a hill of beans to us.

Something I saw the other day made me think about another possibly negative effect of these people who are only here part of the year.  This PT woman was standing at the counter at the Municipal offices trying to pay her taxes for next year, all because she was going to be in Toronto or somewhere else instead of here with us during the winter and spring.  I got to thinking, one of the reasons these people think they have the same rights as us is that we let them pay a full years taxes – when some of them are here for less than a month! So making their tax bill fit the time they are really here is another way we can show them who really matters here.

When I think about it, I am as offended as anyone about these people and now realize that there might be more of them than we ever realized. They might be neighbors, friends or even customers. This could end badly, because how do we know who is to be trusted and who not? I’d be for passing some sort of bylaw where these people wore some kind of coloured arm band or something when they were out in public. If we went that route, we could also get separate colours for year-round folks who were born some where else and another colour for those born outside of the country. And a separate colour for those born here who lived somewhere else then came home when it was convenient. I know this has worked in earlier times in other countries

When a community is threatened in the way my friend – and her friends- think we are now by this plague of PTs, we need to take action. So, who’s with me on this?