by Val Sears
Sometime between the vichysoisse and the blueberry crumble at Almonte dinner parties the guests will likely will begin exchanges over The Great Debate: What kind of a town do we want this to be?
Should it be about the present size with tumbling waters, shady streets, great restaurants and fancy stores but with struggling shopkeepers and pretty high taxes? Or should it grow and grow with subdivisions crowding the outskirts but with swarms of customers for the many stores and lower taxes?
The Almonte council seems to favor the growth model and its certainly defensible. But low taxes and busy stores are not necessarily why most people moved here. Rather it was because Almonte is a lovely town with its river and waterfalls, its antique public buildings and its sprightly arts community.
If it is to become simply a suburb of Ottawa with boxy houses on what were attractive meadowlands, much will be lost.
So council should be very cautious about what growth it permits. Some, surely, but by developers with an aesthetic style and a minimum of greed.
Almonte is unique. Let’s keep it that way.