On a Serious Note

As anyone who has ever visited my little town knows, Almonte is a special place.

It's not one thing that makes my home unique. It's many.

The people. The shops. The landscape.

 

Oh the landscape.

 

If you've followed me on Instagram, you might be familiar with images taken on my scenic walks home from work. 

You may even felt pangs of jealousy following me on my path down quaint little Mill Street - with its heritage architecture and beautifully curated window displays.

Perhaps you've shared my sense of calm as I strolled across the bridge snapping pics of our rushing waterfalls and the old train bridge.

I love this town.

She's a beauty.

 

But Almonte's beauty is in danger of being compromised.

I haven't said much about this topic not because it doesn't concern me (as an Almonte home AND business owner, it couldn't concern me more), but because I couldn't wrap my head around all the facts of the matter.

So I'm going to try to pare it down simply here in the hopes that I might rally some attention for the cause.

 

Here it is in a nutshell.

(Please note: Much of this information has been taken from local residents who've written articles on the subject.)

 

Fact: A company called Enerdu (owned by Jeff Cavanagh) operates a power generating station in the old Maple Leaf Mill building in downtown Almonte. Enerdu is proposing to build a large hydro generating powerhouse beside the mill, which would take up about one 3rd of the existing waterway. (The water space between the Mill and the Barley Mow patio. Aka best outdoor patio in town).

 

Fact: Enerdu also wants to blast or ‘hoe-ram’ large stretches of the upstream riverbed and construct new inflatable weirs where the scenic upper falls are now. 

 

Fact: Blasting is noisy, dirty and will impact local businesses (like mine and those of all my wonderful friends) by driving away tourists and making Almonte a less appealing destination for visitors.

 

Fact: No matter how hard they try, a concrete structure in the middle of our beautiful (signature) landscape will:

  • Take up a huge chunk of our waterway right in the middle of our downtown.
  • Put an end to downtown recreation like boating, fishing and swimming. As well as make it impossible for kids to jump into the "bubble" from the old train bridge which, despite being pretty dangerous already, is basically a right of passage for all Almonte teenagers.
  • Cause (highly) potential flooding to the Barley Mow patio and possibly Mill Street.
  • Change the face of our falls forever.
  • Basically make the Almonte River Walk a boring waste of time.
  • Be a dangerous hydro zone requiring chain link fencing, floating barriers and signage.
  • Be a hideous fucking eyesore.

Fact: It could put me out of business and (to add salt to that gaping wound) lower my home property value.

Then where would you go for your cheerfully made goods?

Huh?

Think about that for a hot second.

 

Listen, I am cool with progress, but this thing just can't happen. Not in this capacity anyway.

 

So what can we do?

At this point, this project is moving forward, but there's still time to cause a fuss. 

 

First things first, take 60 seconds (literally) and sign the petition.

Secondly, I encourage you to share this information and support whatever efforts come down the pipes over the next weeks and months. Almonte merchants are banding together to come up with something spectacular. Watch for it and help us SAVE THIS STUNNING LANDSCAPE!

 

xo Em

 

ps. For the latest updates follow The Almonte Riverwatchers at riverwatchers.ca


Emily Arbour
Emily Arbour

Author



25 Comments

Jason
Jason

June 04, 2014

As a former resident of Almonte I am horrified to hear of these plans. I certainly hope this doesn’t happen. I have very fond memories of this beautiful town.

Cindy Seabrook
Cindy Seabrook

June 04, 2014

I have to agree this would be a travesty! for our home town. Can not believe the town would allow this to happen. Someone must be getting their pockets lined with silver and gold for this one how PATHETIC. This town is full of beauty as well as history. COME ON!!!!

Victoria
Victoria

June 04, 2014

Let us take a moment to measure the needs and desires of the citizens and visitors of Almonte. The needs of the many surely must outweigh the desire of one.

Keith Lowry
Keith Lowry

June 04, 2014

My family has lived in the Almonte area since the late 1800s, over that time much has changed, even the waterway. I can appreciate concern about change, everyone has a right to their opinions, but the claims of ‘natural beauty’ are a farce. The only ‘nature’ in Almonte’s riverscape is the water, this waterway has been modified since the first settlers arrived here. This town was built from industry along this river and will be nothing but a bedroom community if no new industry is created. A once bustling textile town is now one that a guy can’t even buy a pair of sport socks in. You can’t destroy waterway that has already been destroyed for over 100 years. I only wish we could see what this river looked like in the 1700s, I’m sure it was naturally beautiful then. What we see now is only the industrialism that we’ve become accustomed to, why is an industrial building visually appealing old but not new?

Melany Swinwood
Melany Swinwood

June 04, 2014

Tommy and Jeff have their hands in everything. They dont give a shit about anyone except their family and their rising dollar. They ruin everything they touch! Leave Almonte alone! Its bad enough that sub divisions are being built and now the beautiful landmark that Almonte has is going to be distroyed as well. This is BULLSHIT! Such a wonderful town to poke around in on weekends. Arrgg Tommy and his Son seriously piss me off. They own a small sand quarry behind the feild behind my house and I want to pry the feild from his cold almost dead hands before my back yard is a pit. That family aggrivates me so much. Why dont they keep building their large and highly heat drawing solar panels on their own properties (at least those provide apartments within for our towns people). HAND OFF OUR SMALL TOWN OF ALMONTE!

Jill Paris Rody
Jill Paris Rody

June 04, 2014

Be professional, be strong. (take the “f” word out of your petition or you and it’s cause can be perceived as “base and rebellious”) I wholeheartedly sign the petition, and hope that this is stopped!

Nadja Buchan-Logan
Nadja Buchan-Logan

June 04, 2014

That area of Almonte is one of my fav places on earth. It is so beautiful. I would be so sad if it’s beauty was changed.

Jennifer Jilks
Jennifer Jilks

June 04, 2014

I am afraid that fearmongering and rumours often destroy a community. I have visited Almonte many times. People should not be bridge jumping. That’s just crazy.
Those who are in favour of harnessing the energy are outshouted by those whose imagined fears, ill-founded and based in rumours, fail to present the reality of the project. What has happened in Bala, ON, is that the campaign against the hydro project has alienated potential tourists, and reduced property values BEFORE the project is underway. Business owners are afraid to speak out, while signage frightens visitors. The mayor ran on a one plank platform, and has demonstrated her incompetence.
I look to the future, where we need not depend on dangerous energy sources, and we can harness inexpensive, renewable energy.

Trish Sawers
Trish Sawers

June 03, 2014

I moved to Almonte because of the beauty of this area and the beauty of the community. Please don’t ruin it – I don’t want to have to move again.

Robin Singleton
Robin Singleton

June 03, 2014

Thank you, Emily, for your laying out the basic sentiments of the vast majority of the Mississippi Mills residents. One could go on & on about the potential damage to the environment & ambience of the area but the most important is that we, as a community, do not want nor have a need for such an undertaking.
I hope EVERYONE takes a few minutes to sign the petition.

Emily
Emily

June 02, 2014

Thank you all so much for your comments.

As for the ONE negative one from a brave anonymous soul, I’ve chosen to post yours along with the rest so that folks can see that I’m being transparent and let other sides be hear.

So, dear “Almonte Resident”.

I appreciate you giving your feedback on my piece, despite how “stupid” you feel it is. I’m glad to hear that you, like myself and so many others, are exercising your right (however rudely) to voice your thoughts. Way to go.

I assure you I have researched this subject extensively. I talk about it all day long lately. With a variety of different people…with a variety of different opinions.

I should also make it clear that I realize that Cavanagh currently employs a ton of people in the area. I don’t discount his contribution to our economy in that regard whatsoever.

But here’s the truth. There is no long term benefit to Almonte residents (and certainly not to our landscape) if we allow this to happen. The short term benefit is jobs and only jobs and those will not be longer lived than the project itself.

To your point on the size of the structure. I have seen those very plans. Honestly, I could care less if the structure took up another 1/16 of our waterway. It doesn’t belong there.

I also don’t care if they drill during business hours only. Funny tidbit. That’s when we do business here. That’s when the tourists come. That’s when the locals who understand the significance of supporting their local merchants come.

Emily

Leo Hussey
Leo Hussey

June 02, 2014

Some things should be left as they are; this section of river is one of them. I understand the need for energy and hydro is agrueably the most eco-friendly choice, but really, how much power would be produced by this small plant? Bet it’s minute compared to the damage caused by altering the river as proposed. I VOTE AGAINST THIS EXPANSION!

Linda Treleaven-Fournier
Linda Treleaven-Fournier

June 01, 2014

I live in Ottawa, I love where I live and do not aspire to live anywhere else. We live on a quiet street in the west end with no buildings on the opposite side of the street. We are privileged to look out our front windows into forestry and yet be within moments of all amenities a beautiful city can offer. IF that forestry, a huge portion of NCC parkland was to be destroyed and pavement and buildings put in its place – it would devastate us, change the property value of our home and the daily peaceful pleasure of our existence.
I also love Almonte: it is an oasis of warm, welcoming people who have laboured and sacrificed to build a life there. I have many family members from the other side of Toronto who have found Almonte a MUST VISIT place while they are here in Ottawa visiting us.
PLEASE leave Almonte the way it is. We all would suffer a loss without it, just as my family would suffer if our little peace of nature and beautiful quality of life was taken from us.
.

Pat Maffett
Pat Maffett

June 01, 2014

This would totally destroy the town. And what will happen to all the homes and the park at the bottom of the falls?

I find it hard to believe this is the only place on the entire river where this can be constructed.

Pat Sinclair
Pat Sinclair

June 01, 2014

we lived near Arnprior for over 25 years and always enjoyed visiting Almonte. Please don’t destroy it!!

Shaun McLaughlin
Shaun McLaughlin

May 31, 2014

What annoys me most about this project is how the Province told our town government to sit on the sidelines and be quiet like good children while the “adults” worked out the details. By leaving the development up to the province and the Enerdu consultants, we ended up with a deeply divided populace and a long delayed project. If Town Council had been given authority over this project, we would have sat down, compromised and got it done. That is how small towns work. Queen’s Park does not get that.

Cathy Paterson
Cathy Paterson

May 31, 2014

Grew up in Almonte and it was then and still is a beautiful town. I swam in the river .Jumped off the railway bridge,bubble bath, Tobogganed over in Spring Bush . I certainly do not want Almonte to change . I love it when I can go back home and still see the beauty of my hometown. Am proud to say I grew up in this Beautiful Town.

Peter KleinBeernink
Peter KleinBeernink

May 31, 2014

I am trying not to get emotional about this. So, stripping everything else away, the net benefit to the community seems to be clearly missing. Why is this not the over-riding principle for accepting or rejecting a proposal? I would like to know where each of the candidates stands on this in the upcoming election since there seems to be some provincial input required.

Debbie Mundell
Debbie Mundell

May 30, 2014

Here’s another suggestion, Jeff Cavanagh…if you want more power, why don’t you just build more solar panels on your own property?

Debbie Mundell
Debbie Mundell

May 30, 2014

Well said Emily. Jeff Cavanagh, I suggest you spend a few days roaming around Almonte, to feel the community spirit of this beautiful small town. Your conscience and your heart should have you reconsidering. If not, shame on you.

Almonte Resident
Almonte Resident

May 30, 2014

You (like many others that post stupid articles about this) are actually completely ignorant of the actual facts about the plans of this project. I have lived in Almonte all my life and wanted to make an educated opinion about this subject, I suggest you do the same. Go to the actual site and download the plans for this project. I’ve looked at them and read through all of the assessment and survey plans. They have researched everything about the surrounding area and what impact they will have on the environment and town. For a few examples: #1 The “digging” of the river all of you bitch about will unfortunately disturb the wildlife for a short while, but will make room for even more wildlife to inhabit in the long run. #2 I think 1/3 of the river is a bit if not a huge overstatement, look up the plans, they’re building on top of a preexisting structure and the building going up will certainly not take up that much room. #3 They’ve already thought about the noise level and have written explicitly in the plans that they will have times laid out in which they are only allowed to work. I implore yourself and everyone else who have written about this subject to do their research before rally against something you know nothing about. Thanks.

Jim Halpert
Jim Halpert

May 30, 2014

Know what’s an eyesore? Seeing 15 stores selling trinkets being run by fedora wearing neck beards.

Faye R. Goudreau
Faye R. Goudreau

May 30, 2014

How can they destroy such a beautiful view. This little town of Almonte is very quaint and this is natural beauty. This is historic and not of man’s making. Leave it alone. Has man not ruined enough Natural habitats.

Phil Wood
Phil Wood

May 30, 2014

There are times when the many must sacrifice for the few, but there should never be an instance where the “all” must sacrifice for the greed of the one.

Karen Riches
Karen Riches

May 30, 2014

Leave Almonte as it is. Nature , and in this case, our waterways, are more important than profit. Changing the waterways will damage the ecology as well as the beauty of Almonte. The river in Almonte should b e a protected area, just as many wetlands are.

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