Our family moved here from Ottawa a few years ago. We were looking for a less hectic life in a small, friendly, vibrant, artistic, historic and beautiful town. We wanted to live in a place that had a busy and dynamic downtown area. And that is what we found in Almonte and Mississippi Mills. (And we know we are not the only ones who have consciously and deliberately chosen Almonte as a place to call home.)
Since then we have been enjoying life here and showing off the delights of our new community to our friends — the falls and the river, the puppet festival, great restaurants, enticing stores, the Textile Museum, the Mill of Kintail, beautiful parks, topnotch music concerts, to mention only a few of the many discoveries we have made. Everybody who has come to visit us has left enchanted. They have shopped here, eaten here and gone on to spread the word to others.
All was well until we heard about the Enerdu project.
The Mississippi River is Almonte’s past and Almonte’s future. We consider the river to be the jewel of the town and expected it to be further developed and improved over time and not be diminished in the way planned by Enerdu.
We could not believe that so much of what is idyllic and central to this town and its environment could be sacrificed for the benefit of one company. And that our town representatives were not fighting with all their might to make sure what makes Almonte great was preserved for future generations, even without prompting.
We were stunned that the years of hard work invested by the downtown merchants to promote Almonte as a thriving tourist destination could be so easily lost as a result of an ugly river view that nobody cared to look at anymore.
But then once townspeople starting realizing what was at stake and protesting the Enerdu plan, we were even more gobsmacked that you did not sit up and take notice and immediately act to represent us. You even minimized our concerns and denigrated those who were expressing them. The lack of respect shown was remarkable.
I admit we had higher expectations of you and the rest of our elected representatives. We expected more and higher quality communication from the town council earlier on in the process. We expected you to focus on the good of the many over the good of the few. We expected you to focus on long-term sustainability of our collective environment over short-term profit. We expected you to show leadership and stand up for the people who voted you into office, against the province if that was necessary. We expected you to find creative ways to do this and to work with the groups and individuals who are fighting to save our river.
It is not too late redeem yourselves. There are ways to stop this project before it is too late. Please go forward and conduct yourself in the way that the people of Almonte deserve.
Sherry Galey and Bob Hussey