While I have enjoyed hearing positive comments about the purpose and content of this web site, it has taken less than two weeks for the new CollingwoodLiving.com to be attacked by former Collingwood councillor, now blogger, Ian Chadwick.
CollingwoodLiving.com was re-launched to offer readers a straight ahead reporting of facts from news stories from around town, the council table and feature reports on people and events that make Collingwood such an interesting and fulfilling place to be. It is not and will not become another politician bashing blog. I think we have had enough of that sort of thing for a while.
So when I reported the straight ahead facts from the December 11, 2017 regular meeting of council regarding discussion on Clearview Township’s decision to withdraw its support of the Collingwood Regional Airport, I was accused of being a poor journalist and supporter of “the Block, whatever that is, and an advocate for Brian Saunderson.
“This story also shows up on the unctuous Collingwoodliving.com, whose main purpose online seems to be to produce oleaginous flattery of The Block and its leader, our deputy mayor. Consider it our local alt-fact website, our own Fox News: sycophants dedicated to supporting the Block even as it flails, fumbles and bumbles, and offends everyone else in its wake.”
Excuse me? Fox News? Alt-fact web site?
My goodness somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed.
The vote on September 25, 2017 at the regular meeting of Collingwood Town Council to declare the airport as surplus to the needs of the community was unanimous. I did my research. How then, with all councillors present in agreement, am I supporting whatever “The Block” is?
I invite everyone to have a look at the content of CollingwoodLiving.com. I think you will find that an even playing field has been provided for local feature reporting and news content with an emphasis on telling good stories. Many local residents, business leaders and politicians both past and present appear on the site.
I am proud of the fact that I have carved out positive relationships with Mayor Cooper, former Mayor Carrier, former Mayor Geddes, former Mayor (the late) Barker, former Mayor Emo, former Mayor Garbutt and former Mayor Sheffer. I did so by reporting on facts. I did so by respecting their work and the office of Mayor while keeping my opinions to myself, as any good news reporter would do. As someone who was born and raised in Collingwood I had strong mentors who dedicated themselves to public service in this community. I was taught to show them the respect they had earned.
Similarly I respect the work of town councillors. They are giving back to their community and should be applauded for their efforts.
A good news reporter does not make himself a part of the story. Like a hockey official, he should remain invisible.
“But no matter what Saunderson thinks of himself, he is not the spokesperson for the town: the mayor is. And the failure of this site’s authors (which includes at least one former mayor) to even ask our current mayor for a comment shows both how much it is an organ for pro-Block disinformation, and how little they respect both the mayor and protocol.”
I have talked to Mayor Cooper about Mr. Chadwick’s blog comments. She was out of town on the night of the most recent airport discussion at the council table.
I had a two hour coffee meeting with Mayor Cooper last week where we discussed many local issues. We are totally on board. Mayor Cooper understands that at the council meeting on December 11th, Deputy Mayor Saunderson was in charge as he had assumed the Mayor’s chair in her absence.
Despite Mr. Chadwick’s criticism of my reporting skills, I was well within my rights as a journalist to talk to Saunderson in this capacity and to quote what he had to say in an open forum, a public meeting, a regular council meeting. That is straight forward good reporting that even an entry-level journalist student would understand.
Yes, we all know and understand that the mayor speaks on behalf of Town Council.
So Mr. Chadwick … stop talking. Let’s listen to what she has to say.
Collingwood deserves better.
Paul Richards is a retired radio programmer and news reporter.