President’s Message

 

Larry Whatmore
Past President,
West Rouge Community Association

 

 

A tribute to Ron Moeser

 

The passing of Councillor Ron Moeser this past April marked the end of an era in West Rouge.  So it’s only fitting that this issue includes a tribute to Ron, who served our community with distinction for 26 years.  Actually, it’s more than 26 years because, as those of you with long memories will know, Ron got his start in public service right here – as a former president of WRCA from 1984 – 1986 and from 1987 until his election to Scarborough Council in the fall of 1988.

 

I am a relative newcomer to our community, so it’s hard for me to speak about Ron’s legacy with the richness and authenticity that our long-term residents can.  So I am grateful that some of you took the time to contribute on very short notice to the tribute to Ron published by Centennial Community and Recreation Association in their newsletter this past summer.  

 

Down Memory Lane .. and lessons we learn from Ron’s long service

 

I may not have the history of many of you, but I have something almost as good – the archives of West Rouge Life (formerly known as The West Rouge Community Flyer) going back to 1976!

 

I looked back at this chronicle of recent West Rouge history to see what I could learn about Ron.  In doing so, I was struck by three things:  (i) the incredible commitment of our long-serving volunteers, (ii) the issues of yesteryear are still the issues of today (albeit in a different form) and (iii) sustained commitment by long-serving volunteers, working in concert with our elected officials, can lead to some very big wins for our community.

 

I took a look a at an old street captains list.  Did you know, when Ron became President of WRCA in 1984, our street captains included Brian Cowell, Janet Ashberry, Bev Drummond, and Lynda Seaton.  They are all still street captains today!  So was Helen Morton.  To this day, Helen remains the Grande Dame of our community and the guardian of its special character.  I recall so clearly the first time I met Helen, who spoke with such a commanding presence at Scarborough Community Council in 2013.  Helen sets a fine standard for us all.

 

Then I read some of the articles written by “President Ron”.  And I smiled.  What were some of the issues?   Pushing back against a development proposal that didn’t respect the character of our community.  Long term tenure for West Rouge Canoe Club.  Asbestos remediation and development of the former Johns Mansville property.  Objections to the closure of Metro Police 43 Division.  Expanding parking at Rouge Hill GO station.  Saving West Rouge Community Centre from the wrecker’s ball.  And preservation of the Rouge Valley in its natural state.

 

Well, how did we do?  West Rouge Community Centre was saved and has become a beacon of our community.  The Rouge Valley is now a national park.  West Rouge Canoe Club (now Pickering Rouge Canoe Club) is still with us and has new, permanent facilities.  The Johns Manville lands redevelopment left us with engaging streetscapes and a nascent waterfront trail.  And 43 Division is back and located closer to West Rouge than before.

 

What are today’s lessons in this?  Firstly, many of the issues that we engage in require long-term commitment to see them through and to get the result we want.  And secondly, if we remain vigilant on a sustained basis, eventually we can get some big wins.

 

All of these victories took time and sustained advocacy by Ron and our predecessors.  It’s no different today.

 

Tensions resulting from development pressures will always be with us.  Metrolinx’s plans for the Rouge Hill GO station present new challenges.  The Rouge National Park exists on paper but is far from fully formed.

 

Looking back, we can give thanks to “President Ron”, “Councillor Ron”, and to all of those dedicated community members and board members of yesteryear for bequeathing to us all a community we are proud to call home.

 

Let’s learn from Ron about the importance of sustained political engagement so we can work with our elected representatives over the long run to eventually get those “big wins” that preserve and enhance our quality of life in this little oasis.

 

Ron’s life in public service sets a fine example for us all.  Not everyone can aspire to be a City Councillor.  But we can all contribute our time, our expertise, and our passion to protect our community so it evolves the way that we want it to.

 

Welcome to Councillor Jim Hart

 

On June 28, Jim Hart was appointed by Toronto City Council as our new councillor to serve for the remainder of Ron Moeser’s term.  Councillor Hart served as a volunteer in the Ward 44 council office during Ron’s illness and he already has a good working relationship with the four community associations in Ward 44.  So this has been a seamless transition.  We welcome Councillor Hart to this important position and we look forward to working with him toward the continuous improvement of our community.

 

Larry Whatmore
(416) 562-2101
Larry.Whatmore@rogers.com