Meaghan Dumouchelle said she has repeatedly brought up issues of uncut grass and poor gravel maintenance at the park on Burgess Crescent to town officials.
“Since we started frequenting the park, the yard maintenance has been lacking — I can’t remember a single time that the grass has been cut or whipper-snipped without me contacting the town office and requesting them to come,” Dumouchelle said in an email. “The area behind the park is wooded and we tend to get ticks on the play equipment if the grass is not kept short.”
Dumouchelle said Windsor Mayor Anna Allen, accompanied by a public works employee, visited her home Aug. 22. Dumouchelle was hoping for answers; instead she got a rebuke.
“I was met with an argumentative attitude: ‘the grass isn’t THAT long,’” Dumouchelle said, paraphrasing Allen’s comments to her. “And a suggestion that I grab a rake and rake it myself, it would only take two minutes.”
Dumouchelle, a mother of three young children and daycare provider for four more youngsters, said she was shocked by this response.
“She also asked me if I had a rake and asked where it was, implying that she would go ahead and do it herself,” she said. “I made a defeated comment that I pay taxes — very high town taxes — for that purpose, and then she stormed off.”
Dumouchelle said taking care of the children while her husband is in the Armed Forces working in Gagetown gives her very little time to maintain public property herself.
Following the exchange on Aug. 22, the mayor wrote a post on her public figure Facebook page. It read: “I want to thank each and everyone of you who have civic pride in our community and help keep our town beautiful. I visited someone today who didn’t want to do a small job she felt needed to be done because she pays taxes. We all pay taxes in town and we depend on each other to help out from time to time. As you know town council maintained the tax rate this year but at the expensed of increasing services. It was a tough decision that had to be made. Keep up the good work and again, I can’t thank you enough for helping to look after our ‘Little Town of Big Firsts.’”
The post was hidden or deleted shortly after.
When asked by this paper about the comments, Allen said she’s open to talking to the public about issues but wouldn’t provide comment regarding this particular conflict.
During the most recent town budget discussions, Windsor Town Council said that tough decisions would have to be made in order to maintain the current tax rate, including a reduction in town services such as maintenance.
Dumouchelle said she was disheartened by the Facebook post and took to her own Facebook profile to post a status of her own.
That status received dozens of responses, many of them expressing concern with the mayor’s response.
“Mayor Allen then proceeded to post on her Facebook account, insinuating that I do not have civic pride (never mind the fact that we’re a military family, childcare providers for several contributors to the local economy, and being members of the fire department), even though we take better care of the park and garbage collecting than the town does,” Dumouchelle said in an email to the paper. “She tried to turn it into positive PR for herself and ‘maintaining the tax rate this year’ — who in Nova Scotia pays more taxes than the Town of Windsor?”
Dumouchelle said the mayor’s actions were unbecoming.
“I can’t believe that this is the way an elected official can respond to a concerned citizen just trying to keep a local park safe for the children who frequent it,” she added.