Right in the centre - Take action, please!


By Ken Waddell

The Neepawa Banner

To the person (or persons) who decided to deface the Town of Neepawa sign, the Legion and some other spots around town, please let me say a few words. I would like to talk to you, I sincerely would. But seeing as you are unlikely to come and see me, here is what I would like to tell you.

You may have thought it funny to spray-paint racist, nasty words; it isn’t funny.

You may have been trying to impress your friends and if they were impressed with such actions, you badly need some new friends.

If you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then you better quit, because you can obviously not handle them.

If you did it for a power trip, please be advised that you have no power in this community. In fact, if there can be such a thing as negative power, your actions have gained you that. You are certainly being held in very low esteem in this town. 

To deface the Legion is about as low as you can go. Please remember the Legion represents men and women who fought and died so we could have a peaceful country. In some countries, if you had done what you have just done and were seen, you might have been shot dead. Just think about that the next time you take your freedom for granted.

There is redemption. Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes or do things we should not have done. You can confess and then publicly apologize. It wouldn’t hurt if you went to the Legion and the Town and asked if you can make amends by volunteering some hours to show you care. I am sure you care and we all hope you care enough to do the right thing and get yourself past this low point in your life.

The public response to the graffiti has been fierce and that’s good.  As of print deadline a community fund raiser has been set up whereby people can donate towards the cost of re-painting the affected areas. 

We need to go further as a caring community. We all know that we have a housing issue in Neepawa, an overcrowding issue that has become dangerous. I posted this recently on Facebook and it is similar to what I said from the mayor’s chair in 2012 and in editorials since then.

“As the world watched in sad horror at the terrible fire in London, perhaps we should look at our own situation. In Neepawa, we may well have very dangerous housing situations. The problem is that the local Town authorities are not allowed to conduct fire inspections in residences (Fire Commissioner rules I am told). The only way our fire chief can conduct a residential inspection is if he is asked by the owner or the tenant. The third option is for the Town to go to court and get a judge to order an inspection. That just seems wrong. I think that provincial law needs to be changed. Our fire chief should be allowed to conduct house inspections.”

Local Filipino leaders are asking for these inspections to happen, along with education about house insurance and householders insurance.

I say, “Screw the rules”. We need to act now and do a systematic, house-by-house inspection. You can come and do my house first if you would like. We have a skilled, very caring fire chief in Neepawa and we need to get this inspection job done. Let the Fire Commissioner squawk all he wants. When disaster strikes, it’s not his friends who are going to die in a house fire, it’s ours. It isn’t his town that is going to carry a black mark, it’s ours. A little civil disobedience is in order here.