Imagine

0
56

Imagine you owned a river: a big powerful body of moving water like the Ottawa. Over the generations, it was divvied up and resold, so there’s scarcely a foot of riverfront land that isn’t ‘privately owned’. Still, the river, the water that runs through
 it, the air that moves over it, and the transportation it affords is owned by those who live near enough to use it.

Imagine you owned a river: a big powerful body of moving water like the Ottawa. Over the generations, it was divvied up and resold, so there’s scarcely a foot of riverfront land that isn’t ‘privately owned’. Still, the river, the water that runs through
 it, the air that moves over it, and the transportation it affords is owned by those who live near enough to use it.
So, if you and I own the River, how should we look after it?
It’s not a good idea to put materials we don’t feel safe to keep and handle near
the shore, knowing the land inevitably drains toward the river, and that once
pollution hits the water, it’s nearly impossible to ever have clean water again. So, we should be circumspect before new perils are introduced.
It’s enough that there are stashes of unknown substances already dumped
in many locations. Maybe they are innocuous, non-harmful substances or maybe people didn’t recognize those hazards when they were stashed there.
Or just maybe they were unscrupulous villains who made money ‘getting rid’ of waste and the people who made the waste didn’t bother to know where it was going.
There are proposals to establish a new landfill beside an old one (created by Smurfit Stone) at the Pontiac Industrial Park, and another to collect and shallow bury nuclear waste upstream at Chalk River. Neither of those plans seem to be well thought-out, so I lose sleep thinking about a future where the river is no longer safe.
So, folks, what do you think about this? Should we say go ahead, stash away, and we’ll figure out later if it was a good idea or not? I’m just trying to get the most return from my share of the river we own.

Robert Wills
SHAWVILLE/THORNE