‘It’s un-South Glengarry-like’: councillor blasts sign policy

In this July 2015, file photo, a sign board advertises upcoming events in Martintown. South Glengarry Coun. Lyle Warden has blasted a policy on these signs outside fire halls after a request to advertise a cancer fundraiser was turned down. The decision was reversed and the township will be looking at amending its policy. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

LANCASTER – A South Glengarry councillor has blasted administration for lacking “common sense” while enforcing a policy on signs outside its fire hall in Martintown.

A community request to put a community center fundraiser for a woman battling an aggressive cancer on the signboard outside the fire hall and community center was denied by the Martintown deputy fire chief, Coun. Lyle Warden said during Tuesday night’s council meeting.

The community center and fire station are under one roof on County Road 20.

“Advertising it on the fire department sign for six days seems, not outrageous. We are a small community here. This municipality can’t even put that on the sign. I think we are getting big city mentality here just drives me bonkers,” Warden said.

“To think the deputy chief in that station couldn’t made the decision on his own. He had to call the chief and then it got turned down. Where’s the heart? Where’s the community?” he asked.

“Like c’mon. This woman has a hell of a fight against her and she needs every little bit of help she can get and this municipality refusing that simple request. It’s un-South Glengarry-like,” Warden added.

Deputy Mayor Frank Prevost said he would have guessed the sign was for the community center because the sign is closer to it than the fire hall.

There is a policy on the books from 2008 that the signs are used exclusively for fire safety education, though the fire chief (referenced specifically as Harold Harvey in the policy) has discretion on what messages can be put up.

Fire Chief Dave Robertson said the sign was a 2008 project for fire safety education.

“It was budgeted through the fire service. We decided that signs at the stations, and we purchased five, would be for that usage,” the chief said.

Robertson said he would move ahead with putting up the fundraising event message, based on the go-ahead from council.

“I was just following the policy as I understood it,” Robertson said, adding that he had never seen the policy in writing before Tuesday.

“I agree it’s a very worthwhile cause.”

The sign has since gone up.

The township will also look at changing its policy at a later date.

As for the dinner for Tammy Christie – a mother of twins – it will be going Sunday (Sept. 10) from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the Martintown Community Center.