A National Capital . . . disaster
There’s a recurring dream on both sides of the Ottawa River that we should be part of a “National Capital Region”, similar to D.C. While this is far-fetched, especially given Quebec’s view that its boundaries are sacred, after August 4, there’s a new reason against such a district.
That reason is this: an NCR would include Ottawa.
Not our neighbours, co-workers, friends, and family living there, but the administrators and governing class of that city. This is not a new fear. The idea is often shot down (it never had a chance in the first place, I want to be clear) because we would be swamped by a much larger Ottawa population, one absolutely indifferent to our concerns and certainly insensitive to our cultural values.
Last week, August 4, Ottawa’s city council (and its Medical Officer) notified federal authorities that they have no objection to the plan to store 15 football-fields of nuclear waste upstream from us all, a kilometre from the Ottawa River, beside a creek and marsh which drain into the Ottawa. And near the seismic fault line that follows the river.
Ottawa’s only concern, apparently, is that they be notified of any leaks or other disasters.
Are you still reading? Yes, Ottawa has said it only wants notification, so it can ... what? Move the city? Get its water supply elsewhere? Quickly build a new dam and divert the Ottawa? What could possibly be done to avert a huge disaster in the case of a big leak, break, flood, earthquake, sabotage, burst dam upstream, etc? What could Ottawa actually do? A boil-water order?
Maybe it’s us, Aylmer and Gatineau, who should consider moving -- away from Ottawa if it is being governed by such spineless administrators. Montreal and Laval, much further downstream, have expressed their concerns with the dangers this project presents. Why is Ottawa blind to these problems? You know the answer, and it has to do with further up the government chain -- hence my reference to “spinelessness” -- putting political expediency before concern for their own citizens.
However, while it’s ridiculous to think of moving our city, there is a move that Ottawa’s decision does support: move the dump project into Ottawa itself.
If the dump is as safe as federal (and now Ottawa) politicians claim, why not put it in downtown Ottawa – as a public-safety demonstration site?
Political leaders won’t give this a second thought – yet they have no problem locating the dump in the middle of rural Ottawa Valley. The Petawawa military base, Pembroke, Chapeau, Renfrew, Fort Coulonge, Arnprior and all the small towns which take their water from the river are less important than Ottawa? Name an alternate conclusion we can draw. Please, name one.
So why would we ever give a thought to any merger of any kind with Ottawa and its glaring lack of leadership? Let’s bury the idea of a National Capital Region once and for all. Ottawa won’t even OK a new bridge, but they green-light a toxic mega-dump upstream. These are neighbours?