Sunday, 12 October 2008

Bala Falls saga - post 4


It is interesting that the only media coverage Swift River can get is in posting a full-page ad in the Banner.

Falsehoods and misinformation continue. This isn't a "big company". It is made up of a few people who want to put in a dam larger than the one that is there.

I am unsure how this will "destroy the town". It is a pretty sad state now. I think the town needs refurbishing. I think the old church, rather than being used as a craft store, ought to be changed into a museum. There could be slide shows of the development of the dam over the years, the progress as it is being built, show the history of the dam and the falls before humans changed the course of the falls and the height.

The big photo-op brought a lot of people into town. People were selling t-shirts and getting signatures on their petition. The shirt were on sale for $8 at various locales.

The Facebook site has had a threat posted. Not a pretty picture. This movement has really heated up with the town councillors vote.

We could market a reno to the hydro dam as a tourist attraction, as many other small towns have done. Few enough people stop in Bala, tourism dollars are down some say by 30%. The parking lot is for sale. If IT sells, the bakery and Annie's are hooped.

Town councillors seem uninterested in a plan. Perhaps the Chamber of Commerce should work with shop owners. Instead of fighting progress we should be adapting to it as we have always done. We need a vision for the future, not just a tearing down of a well-thought out provincial plan, with a voter-mandated goal of reducing coal-fired generating plants.

It is amazing how much attention is given to rumour, shrieking protestors and unfounded, uniformed fears of those who protest the falls development. The dambusters are making complaints about the falls being reduced to a 'trickle'. (If you viewed the falls in January you would know this is not true). Others fear that all tourism in the region will cease. I say we market it as a tourist attraction, but I digress.

It is important that local residents see the big picture in all of this. Provincial voters have elected a government with a mandate to increase hydroelectric generation and decrease dependence upon coal-fired, carbon-producing generators.

I worked in an Ottawa school during the Leafs-Sens finals a few years ago. Those of us who were for the Leafs had to take great courage to wear our Leafs jerseys. But wear them we did. There are those in this community who support progress and the evolution of our environmental developments. We are having a hard time having our voices heard as the media only covers the squeaky wheels. It would be great to have balanced reporting of the news, not just the skewed viewpoints of business owners, bridge jumpers, and romantic two-season cottage owners with no vested interest in the environment. We need long-term sustainable, renewable energy projects. This seems to fit the ticket.

For previous posts (and subsequent comments) see: Savethebalafalls (post #1), Dambusters (post #2) & Bala Hydro Project (post #3).


Travis Erwin said...

Welcome to the MTM gang. I will go back and read you earlier posts on this subject to get caught up to speed. It's a shame that issues like this can divide otherwise tight-knit communities.

Jenny Jill said...

The division seems to have arisen when a provincially-mandated, election plank/platform of reducing our provincial dependence upon coal-fired generation impacted the locals.

The town => local councillors, are getting much grief for a provincially-driven project intended to help all of Ontario. The STAKEHOLDERS are complex and confusing for all. Local media take photo ops and sound bytes. The local MPP, Norm Miller, is conservative, the Premier, Hon. Dalton McGuinty, a Liberal. There are hidden agendas everywhere! You know politicians!!!