Dear Mr. Levi,
I was extremely fortunate to have been born and raised in Almonte. I come from two strong generations of families from both my mom and dad’s side that have lived, contributed to the economy, raised large families and many who have worked in our community including both of my deceased grandparents who worked at two of our cherished mills. I love this town. I love it so much that after spending over 10 years of my adult life in Toronto, I picked up and moved my husband (who is not from Almonte) and my young family back here because THIS is where I WANT to raise my family.
What would ever make two successful young adults with exceptional careers, a beautiful home in a thriving city, and happy children, pick up and leave Toronto? Family, community, smalltown charm, “the village”, and because I wanted my children to have all the wonderful memories I have of my childhood growing up in Almonte. Swimming at the beach, swimming in the bubble, canoeing up the Mississippi with my high school class, stopping for ice-cream down in front of the falls, enjoying leisurely walks over the bridge to enjoy the spectacular views. And most importantly, growing up with the same pride and love I have for the community and place I am from. Have you ever lived outside of Almonte Mr. Levi? Because let me assure you, this is very rare.
I am deeply disturbed by the Enerdu plans. Not just because of the irreversible aesthetic damage it will do to the natural and historic beauty that has existed in Almonte long before my time and yours. And not just because I am so sad for my children who each Saturday ask to take their little strider bikes downtown across the river walk to get a muffin at Baker Bobs, something they will enjoy far less if these plans are allowed to proceed. It’s also not just because I think it will have a serious negative impact on the shop owners I am so grateful to call friends. I’m not sure people will want to go to the Menzies House to stay once their waterfront changes forever. What I am most disturbed by is how this is even possible in MY Almonte.
In MY Almonte, the people are everything. In MY Almonte, it is the families who have lived here for years, the kids that bike across the bridges and play in the parks and the arenas, the seniors who lawn bowl near Anne Street that I love to watch, the young families that fill the soccer pitches all summer. MY Almonte is the place I couldn’t wait to get home to every long weekend when I lived in Toronto, it is the small town I ached for every holiday season. MY Almonte is the community that literally lifted my family up from the worst loss of our lives and showed us that my little brother will never be forgotten. Its the kids I used to babysit that I now call friends, it is the people that used to babysit me that I still say hi to on the street and stop to chat with. It is the phone numbers and addresses of my childhood friends that I still remember to this day when I can’t remember the cell phone number they have had for even longer. MY Almonte in short Mr. Levi – is the people. And no one seems to be listening to the people.
The town of Almonte doesn’t belong to the council you sit on. And it most certainly doesn’t belong to Enerdu or Jeff Cavanaugh. It belongs to the people of Almonte. And the people of Almonte do not want this plan to proceed. Not because we want to stir up trouble, but because we LOVE this town. We LOVE this town enough to want it to be passed on to the generations that are still to come in the same beautiful way it was given to us. Why do we think we have the right to change the face of one of the most beautiful towns in Canada? How is this a decision that is even possible we get to make?
So, I am sad Mr. Levi. Because if these plans proceed it means that this town isn’t the town I grew up in. It isn’t the town I thought I moved my family back from Toronto to grow up in. And if this happens, what I am most devastated about, it never will be again.
MY Almonte won’t exist anymore, because you have made this town about something much less valuable to me than the people. If I wanted a community driven by money, I would have just stayed in Toronto.
The impact of the decision in front of you is about far more than a weir. Think about that for a few minutes.