I am slow to write this letter, as I am hesitant to feed and contribute to this particular dialogue. As an active member of the IDA, however, I feel compelled to write. In the September 5th issue of the Oran, Anton Selkowitz wrote (in a paid advertisement) that the IDA “has been taken over by Cabot supporters, people that are either employed by Cabot, or have family or friends employed by Cabot. Naturally, they are afraid to take any action that would offend Cabot, even if not taking action adversely effects Inverness”.
Mr. Selkowitz, I have to ask, why do you presume to know anything and everything about the people who volunteer their time with the IDA? Why do you presume to know their interests, their politics, or their fears? Why do you presume to know anything about the relationships and connections they have to their community? The arrogance of your presumptions is both offensive and astounding. The IDA is currently made up of a diverse grouping of community members with one thing in common – we are all interested in the improved well-being of our community. What exactly that looks like often varies from person to person, as our membership is made up of people living and working in our community, retirees who have spent decades working and contributing to our community, people with young and growing families, business owners, volunteers, and people new to the area looking to connect with other community members.
As an IDA volunteer, I see people who are so incredibly overextended, with plates fuller than you can ever imagine. This handful of people is working to ensure that the Visitor Information Centre is staffed, the Beach Boardwalk is rebuilt and repaired, the Beach Canteen building is renovated, washrooms are operating, the Inverness Gathering and holiday parades are marshalled and coordinated, as well as raising and securing funds to cover the considerable cost of the above initiatives (there is also the day-to-day committee work that is designed to address ongoing issues in our community).
Mr. Selkowitz, your remarks are not only offensive for their presumptive nature but because they conveniently fail to recognize the complexity of our community and our organization, as well as its membership, its mandate, and its vision. If you, personally, want to buy into or perpetuate an outdated, tired, one dimensional, and flattened narrative of the IDA – go for it. I, as a member of the IDA, however have significant fatigue around this particular representation. To suggest that the membership, as a whole, has any particular interest other than our community's general well-being motivating its activity is problematic. To suggest that the membership, as a whole, feels silenced or pressured in any particular direction is equally problematic. We, as a group of people coming together around the issues we feel are most impacting our community, simply work too hard to have our work and/or our wider interests (as individuals or as an organization) so grossly misrepresented.
This year the IDA partnered with the municipality and the Inverness County Accessibility Committee on a project that saw the Inverness Beach receive national attention for its accessibility enhancements. If you spent time on the Inverness Beach this summer, you will have noticed the unbelievable number of community members and visitors accessing our Mobi Mats, Mobi Chairs, and beach wheelchairs. The Beach Canteen was renovated to become accessible as was the Beach Boardwalk. It was simply amazing to see people and families coming together and accessing the beach in these new ways. This is where the IDA is working and these are the types of projects we’re partnering on. It’s a really exciting time to be a part of the organization and I, for one, am really happy to celebrate the incredible amount of work the IDA has accomplished this year!
Note: The IDA is actively recruiting new community volunteers. The first fall meeting is on September 12th, 7:00 p.m. at the Inverness Education Centre Academy – all are welcome.