(Open Letter to Liberal MP (Pontiac) Will Amos, copied to the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change)
Mr. Will Amos,
As a former U23 National Team canoeist and Wilderness Canoe guide, I have spent hundreds of hours on the Ottawa River. I oppose the proposal for a Near Surface Disposal Facility in close proximity to the Ottawa River. The potential environmental consequences have already been articulated in the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) Environmental Impact Statement and by the Ottawa Riverkeeper’s related comments. I will speak to the impacts that cannot be encapsulated by numbers and figures.
I don’t remember learning how to run, to swim or to talk. I don’t remember learning how to canoe. But I remember the feeling. The feeling of being in awe of the power of the Ottawa river. The River has taught me respect and pride for our environment and for our heritage. Respect for myself, for our wilderness, and for the authorities who recently designated it a Canadian Heritage River.
I have lived in Chelsea, Quebec, my whole life, but I have grown up on the river. Our river has shaped me into the person I am becoming. I want future generations to be able to say the same. The proposed disposal site is a solution that is estimated to see 50 years of use (2020-2070), and yet the repercussions of a contaminated river could last for centuries.
As an athlete and as a guide introducing people to our wilderness, I am proud to represent a country which I believed valued its environment as much as I do. Mr. Amos, I remind you that we are a freshwater community, province, and a freshwater nation. Our country was essentially founded by transport on our waterways. Yet there is a level of separation that has come between us and our waterways, the veins of our country. This level of separation wherein we, as a society, seem to think that allowing radioactive waste to potentially seep into the heart of our nation is acceptable. A separation between the image of being a freshwater nation, and the action we take to protect our waterways. A separation between our community and our vision for the next generation.
By allowing the creation of the nuclear waste site in such close proximity to the Ottawa River, we would be sending a message to our nation. A message to the people of future generations, to the thousands of world class whitewater enthusiasts and other recreational river users who cherish the River. A message to the politicians of our nation. A very clear message about the values and priorities of our community.
I know that the next generation can be one of understanding and collaboration. A generation in which indigenous youth, new Canadians and children of all ages will be connected by the waterway that is at the heart of our nation’s history, culture, values, and our capital.
Mr. Amos, as you speak on behalf of our community, I am asking you to speak on behalf of our river by opposing the proposed Chalk River CNL Nuclear Waste Site. Protecting our river may be a hassle right now, but the investment is invaluable in the long run.
William Amos, Pontiac MP can be contacted as follows:
William.Amos@parl.gc.ca (Ottawa Office)
william.Amos.C3@parl.gc.ca (Campbell’s Bay office)
The CNL Environmental Impact Statement can be read at the following: link: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/3549227/Canadian-Nuclear-Laboratories-Environemental.pdf