Enerdu-6Letter to the Editor:

My wife bought me a Springer Spaniel puppy around Christmastime last year. I had a heart attack in October 2013 at 46 years old, and I guess she figured a dog would help me get out and walk.

I didn’t take the dog for many long walks in the winter; too cold and many other lame excuses. When spring finally came (and it took its time, didn’t it?), it was time to start walking the dog. I would have loved to walk around the fairgrounds as it was right across the street from my house but was unable to. You see, every year the fairgrounds flood in the spring and this year was pretty bad as the water made it all the way to the street.

The RiverWalk seemed like a nice walk for the both of us. Before we even made it to the old Town Hall, the dog started freaking out. The sound of the water rushing over the falls was amazing! The power of so much water was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. After a few days, my dog Fergus got used to it and would even sit and watch it with me for a while.

Summer came, the fairgrounds dried out, I got summer-lazy and started to cut the walks short by taking him to the boat launch at the fairgrounds and then back home. After a few friends politely stated that I seem a little bigger than normal, I decided to go back to my longer walk that took me through the RiverWalk and downtown Mill Street.

So at 6 this morning, I got up and started down Water Street. Things were different. You see, for the last week, I have been playing devil’s advocate posting comments supporting the Enerdu project. Every comment I have read kept going through my head while walking. The following is a short summary of the conversations I had with myself while walking:

 At the fairgrounds – “These buildings have so much history. Both are way over 100 years old but unfortunately are starting to look like it. The covered grandstand is the oldest in Canada but won’t be much longer unless someone fixes it. It would be such a loss if it were gone. We haven’t had much rain this summer but didn’t a councilor write something about summer flooding. I have never seen that.”

Now at the RiverWalk – “There is that weir everyone is talking about. Didn’t even know what it was called until this whole Enerdu thing. I didn’t see those boards in the spring with all that water flowing over them; now they just look terrible. The heritage report said that the new weir would be adjusted in the morning so that it would always have water flowing over it. That would look good, wouldn’t it?”

 The train bridge is a beautiful piece of architecture. I wonder who is responsible for it now that the train is gone? It would be nice if they make it a walking bridge like I have heard; the views would be amazing. Look at the water smashing into the bridge supports; I wonder how they built that into the river? People are complaining that the weir posts will increase flooding. I wonder if these bridge supports increased flooding when they were installed? I hope the Riverwatchers don’t want the bridge removed. If people are saying the weir supports are going to increase the risk of flooding, certainly removing the bridge would decrease the risk.

Now we are looking at the main attraction, the flour mill. The mill itself is beautiful and old looking; that weird looking blue building not so much. Where was everyone when they put that up? If it does go through, I hope the committee that approves the design does a better job with the siding choice than that blue steel stuff. They say that the building is going to decrease the width of the river but look at that piece of land jetting out near there. From the plans I have seen, the new plant does not come out any further that that land.

Mill Street – In the last couple of years, business has grown. I’m sure the tourists really like it. I wonder how many of these businesses I have been in. Well, I’m a big guy, so probably every place that makes food, especially the bakery! I guess that’s why all the food places have been around for so long. There are at least 4 antique stores; great for tourists but not for me. Is there any place in this town for me to get a pair of underwear; not that I’m aware of. In Killaloe, there is a shoe store where I buy my Crocs every year when at the cottage. They have been in business since 1947 or something like that. I always wondered how they stayed around so long in such a small town. They have an upscale section in the front for tourists and a bunch of hunting stuff for the locals in the back. I bet you once the cottagers leave, the prices drop and the fancy stuff is replaced with reasonable priced goods for the locals.

I was born and raised in Nepean. I met a girl from Almonte and she dragged me here kicking and screaming 13 years ago. I’m so glad she did. I am honoured to be living in the best place in Canada and will never leave. I am blessed to be within walking distance to so many beautiful places. After my heart attack, many of my neighbors gave me heck for shovelling and ensured I didn’t have to for the rest of the winter. You don’t get that in Ottawa.

It’s really hard commenting against a cause when everyone is against you. I didn’t want to get into this, but I felt that I had to represent the silent that feel the same way as I do. I am not well-educated and write like I speak. Make fun of the spelling and grammar in this letter if you wish but it is from my heart. I think with communication, this project could work for both sides.

Sincerely,

Tracy Stimpson.