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Letters - May 8, 2008

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Letters - May 8, 2008 Letters: May 8

A Door Closes, George Hiles

Uranium Struggle Continues, Helen Forsey

Wizard of Oz, Norm Landry

Re: Composting, Georgia Ferrell

A Door Closes

Over eight years has slipped by since the weekly Property Crime Summary came to life in South Frontenac Township. It has been a rewarding partnership between the community and Frontenac OPP.

Tom Varga, the founding Community Liaison Officer, worked tirelessly with the community to get the concept up and running. Meetings were held with interested community associations, watch groups were formed and the weekly Property Crime Summary began to roll off the press.

In early 2002, Tom moved to Western Canada to enable him to be closer to family members.

With Tom’s departure, I was approached and asked if I might be interested in picking up where Tom left. It was a great opportunity to become involved in policing once more. The Community Liaison Officer’s function in South Frontenac Township was unique and sounded extremely interesting.

Out of retirement I came and interesting it has been! Over the years I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the finest people in the township. More community, cottage and neighbourhood watch groups were formed and countless meetings were attended on a wide variety of community policing topics.

What a team evolved. With a concerted effort from the community who acted as the eyes and ears of your police service, the Frontenac OPP Break and Enter unit came close to driving the break and enter rate into the ground.

With community support I trust the trend can continue. Thanks for your unrelenting support of Frontenac OPP and the Community Liaison Officer. Above all, thanks for having allowed me the privilege to have worked with many of you. You are the greatest!

Stay safe and enjoy life to the fullest,

George Hiles, Community Policing/Watch Program/Block Parent/Seniors Liaison Officer

Uranium Struggle Continues

In the nearly three months since the anti-uranium protesters were forced to leave the roadside encampment at Robertsville, the protest and the issues behind it have largely disappeared from the news. But the issues themselves have not gone away. As everyone awaits further happenings on the ground, in the courts and in the halls of power, we continue to do what we can to ensure a livable outcome for our communities, our environment, and the generations that will follow us.

In that context, I want to invite dialogue on two major concerns. One is the division in the overall community between those who support uranium development and those of us who are fighting against it. The other is the disagreement over the separate paths different groups are taking in the ongoing anti-uranium struggle.

As someone deeply involved in that struggle, there may not be much I can do at the moment about the first of these concerns. But I believe I speak for all the protesters when I say that we, too, are unhappy that the issue has caused such hard feelings with some of our neighbours. None of us are doing any of this for fun, or on a whim, or to upset anyone. On the contrary, we got involved because of what we know about uranium. We’ve done our homework on its short- and long-term health effects, its economic costs and benefits, its impact on communities and the environment. What we’ve learned is so disturbing that we have no choice but to oppose uranium development in any form.

I respect the fact that for some people, our protest remains a problem. But I hope that the commonalities we share as neighbours and citizens will eventually come to outweigh the hard feelings.

On the second matter - the misunderstandings and resentments that have arisen over differing approaches and strategies – there are things we can do right now. The key is to realize – as we all remind each other regularly – that this is about uranium, not about competing interests or philosophies, groups or personalities. Whatever our affiliations or beliefs, uranium threatens us all. In coming together to fight that threat, we’ve set aside some big differences, shed some major baggage, gotten past some old grudges. We’re still doing that, and we can be rightly proud.

However, the huge challenges posed by the court process, with its harsh conditions and sentencing, have made it harder to maintain that unified sense of purpose. At the protest site we all had to work together; now there is less opportunity for communication and sorting things out. It’s no secret that some people have been puzzled and angered by the differing court strategies of the two First Nations. Groups have become more separate, and mistrust has widened the distances. Some people have pulled back in confusion or disappointment, feeling that the fight has been mishandled or even abandoned.

But it hasn’t. In fact, those diverse non-violent strategies are key to our strength! Diversity is vital for an ecosystem, and it’s good for a protest movement as well. We need everyone’s energy and ingenuity to reach our goal. If we were to put all our legal or political eggs in one basket, we’d be far more vulnerable than we are.

Think about it. The leadership of the two Algonquin communities volunteered to face the court on behalf of the rest of us, and they were joined by three settlers. If all those who went to trial were now in jail, would we be farther ahead? If everyone were subject to crippling fines, would our opposition to uranium be more effective? If the Shabot Obaadjiwan leaders had allowed the court to prohibit them from pursuing their upcoming cross-claim lawsuit, would that have advanced Aboriginal rights or helped to stop a mine? On the other hand, if everyone charged had agreed to the restrictive undertakings demanded by the court, would we now have the wide publicity and high-profile support that Ardoch’s Bob Lovelace has gained for the cause?

The fact is, if we all did things the same way it just wouldn’t work. Different people choose different paths to our common goal, and that’s all to the good. We may not agree with another group’s strategy or choices, but who knows what strategy or combination of strategies will lead to victory?

So I say: Thank goodness for our differences and the resiliency they give us. Let’s go on debating, questioning and challenging each other, but let’s do it with the mutual respect and caring that have brought us this far. Let’s work with our diversity and celebrate it. And let’s keep our eyes on the prize.

Helen Forsey

Wizard of Oz

Kudos to the North Frontenac Little Theatre on its recent production of the Wizard of Oz. The principal characters were all superbly cast and gave a polished performance. As well, all of the children involved were a delight and, not to omit anyone, the secondary players did a fine job as well. Thank you to all involved, both on stage and behind the scenes; your many hours of preparatory work resulted in a thoroughly entertaining show!

Norm Landry

Re: Composting

I want to thank my neighbor John Waddingham for his superb letter; I, too, believe that the open pit composting in this area is being railroaded through, despite all the voiced concerns of our neighbours, and the evidence provided by experts on the unsuitability of such an operation in this populated area of our township.

These concerns are not simply fear mongering; rather, they are the legitimate concerns of our neighbours for the health and welfare of not just this little area, but of all Central Frontenac Township. It disturbs me to read and hear, if true, that our mayor, Janet Gutowski, intends to push this to completion, regardless of the wishes of those who elected her into office.

I have read a great deal about this type of composting and unless it is very strictly monitored, it will become a stinking garbage pit. While I am certain the MOE does its very best, we all know how effective government is when it comes to situations like these. Besides which, aren’t we putting the cart before the horse to change the zoning before the operation is approved by the MOE?

But most of all, I do also ask what--other than negatives--will we get in return. In the same edition of the paper, speaking of another issue, Mayor Gutowski is quoted as saying “we do take responsibility for our staff…we are accountable every four years”. If that is so, do you think this will be forgotten in two years? If the concrete plant doesn’t conflict with the existing use, I suppose you might use that same argument for the open pit composting, despite the number of folks who live very close by, never mind the negative implications put forward by extremely qualified persons regarding this operation. As well, how does this fit in with the very important decision of Central Frontenac Township to convincingly “Go Green”? Nitrous oxide is a very potently poisonous off gas of these types of operations, not to mention what will leach down into the soil without an impermeable membrane in the pits which is an absolute requirement by all counties, states or countries which permit this type of composting. Clay or any other type of soil is just not good enough! Water will leach thru any type of soil, perhaps more slowly but nonetheless it will.

I cannot believe that there is even one person on our council that does not see that this zoning change should be voted down. If this type of composting pit is necessary for the use of Central Frontenac, then I suppose we must live with that, but that only!

Again, I challenge Mr. Shea to build his own home on that site and bring his family to live there. If he is so willing, then perhaps I could be convinced to believe what he says.

Georgia Ferrell

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