Open letter to Jeff Cavanagh re Enerdu

Figure 1: Current powerhouse
Figure 1: Current powerhouse

Terri Clarke

Almonte ON K0A 1A0

 June 17, 2014

 Enerdu Power Systems Inc.
Attn: Mr. J. Cavanagh
9094 Cavanagh Road
Ashton ON KOA 1BO
 

Dear Mr. Cavanagh,

 I have never met you, but I have heard many good things about you. I’ve heard that you are a fair, generous and caring, all around nice guy with a good business sense.

But something doesn’t fit. A fair, generous and caring, all around nice guy wouldn’t deliberately interfere with a pleasure that is shared by every resident of his community solely for his own personal financial gain. A savvy business man would not jeopardize the heart of the town’s tourism drawing card. I can only assume that you are not fully aware of the extent of the joy the river brings, the pride that Mississippi Millers feel towards their river and its falls, and the impact that the Enerdu project could have on the community.

Most of us do not own or can ever hope to own river view properties. The closest we will ever get is the sense of pride and civic ownership we feel every time we stroll along the river walk in town or enjoy the beautiful view of Mississippi River and its falls from its various vantage points. Whether it is a leisurely stroll along the river’s edge or a quick glance from the car window, the beauty of the river and its falls is never wasted. The majestic riverscape we enjoy is the same view the founders of our town enjoyed two centuries ago. This is our river. It has shaken me to the core to realize that this beautiful natural resource can so easily be tampered with by the whim of one individual. I and our municipal government are powerless to protect this priceless jewel.

Much of the technicalities of the project are beyond my scope of understanding. I do, however, understand that your project will obscure natural features of the landscape, alter the natural views on both sides of the river, upriver, and downriver, change the flow of one of the falls, increase the amount of concrete that is visible, and introduce mandatory signs and warnings.

Our town has seen a rebirth and tourism is steadily increasing. Up front and centre in any tourism PR is our river with its cascading falls and heritage surroundings. Mill Street’s new shops, galleries, attractive heritage storefronts and various restaurants complete the picture. Your project will permanently mar this landscape vista that draws visitors to our town. The several weeks, or possibly longer, of construction, although temporary, will no doubt have a detrimental effect on area business.

So here it is. I, along with many, have attended the public meetings, submitted a Part II Order Request, read the reports and studies regarding the Enerdu project, and signed petitions. Lack of a high profile lobbying campaign against this project did not mean that the sentiment was not there. It only meant that funds to mount such a campaign were lacking.

Our provincial government has given you the go-ahead pending your Heritage Assessment Study. As I see it, the only avenue of protest I have left is to personally ask you not to go ahead with this project. Perhaps if enough people personally asked you not to go ahead with the project, you might understand the depth of the local sentiment to your project, and reconsider.

If you still choose to permanently alter our river and its falls, at least now I will know that I did not stand back and do nothing.

Yours truly,

Terri Clarke

 PS I will also be sending this to media as an open letter to you. Thank you.