There’s an old adage that says, “good fences make good neighbours.” I don’t buy into that but rather, I believe that good people make good neighbours.

This past weekend Farmer John’s annual summer party celebrated its 25th anniversary and the two-day party featured music, helicopter rides and scores of people getting together in a rural setting to blow off a little steam.

However, it devolved into something far more serious with OPP reporting multiple assaults after 4am. There were also reports of property damage as well as a sexual assault on Forward Road and while they weren’t directly on the sight of the event, let’s not kid ourselves into thinking these incidents are unrelated.

Part of the responsibility for this situation lies at the feet of North Dundas council, who approved a noise exemption for the event until 5am. Anyone with half an ounce of common sense would agree that a stage pumping out loud music until the early hours of Sunday morning is not only a recipe for trouble but it’s also downright disrespectful to the people that live in the vicinity.

After the news of the assaults broke on the Winchester Press Facebook people were quick to defend the party and John Brugmans, the architect of the summer shindig.

People claimed it was an isolated incident and that those that complained about the noise from the annual event should “just leave town for the weekend.”

Why should they? This is their home. They live there and they have every right to expect that a party should be wrapped up by 2 am.

But, more importantly, what has been lost in all the nonsense arguments that a Facebook post usually provokes is one simple truth: people got hurt. End of story.

If you went to the party, that should be your primary concern. People that went to have a good time and celebrate with friends have been victimized. That should disgust you.

As adults we can all lift our proverbial heads out of the sand and also have an honest conversation of what is really going on at this party.

Yes, there are no alcohol sales and signs are clearly posted that party-goers enter at their own risk, but are we really that naïve?

Brugmans should take responsibility for the people at his party. It’s what a good host should and must do. It’s a private party on his property and they are his guests.

The people that attended the party should learn how to behave in public, take better care of each other and respect the community they are in. It’s what a good guest would do.

The residents of Chesterville and surrounding areas would do well to allow the party to continue with reasonable hours, proper policing and security because it’s what good, fun-loving community would do.

The township should take responsibility for issuing a moronic exemption rather than claim ignorance because it’s what good leaders would do.

We should all agree that the party was not the problem but a few people were. Because of that, a good thing has been ruined.

The only way to fix it is to demand better.

Good people make good neighbours and once we understand that, the party can continue.

-T.S