Watered-down treatment of the environment must stop

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by admin on July 7, 2010

The Editor,

An open letter to all MRC mayors in the MRC des Collines, concerning water and the environment:

The time has come that we all must be very serious about our ground-water supply and the serious damage we are doing to our environment. Every day. Our leaders at this point can’t seem to get a handle on this or simply don’t have the executive ability to make unpopular but right decisions, or perhaps they can’t see the forest for the trees.

We really don’t know what we are doing to our aquifer. I understand that a new water study is being launched by the province, but it will probably take years to get answers for specific locations. If we find out that we are using water at an unsustainable rate, then we will need to take some drastic steps – steps such as making people pay to put a meter on their wells and charging them according to use.

You know that these smart and tough decisions will be unpopular, that we may soon face a situation where either we will have our wells go dry or have to thousands of dollars a year for municipal water and sewer services.

It took millions of years to build up our aquifer. Do we have kind of leadership in our mayors, councillors and directors at the MRC to make decisions that are not politically correct but absolutely necessary to ensure our well water will be available forever?

We should be reminded that leadership and vision for a community don’t always have to emanate from councils. Some of the decisions will seem draconian in the minds of some, but, the right ones in the minds of people with clear vision.
Water is not only our most important commodity but the most precious for the survival of mankind. Today’s elected officials, whether they are at a municipal level or at the highest in Parliament, must make one of the most important environmental decisions in their respective elected lives. They must initiate and implement laws that will tax water whether from a river, lake and, most importantly, the aquifer.

Yes, it will mean putting a water meter on private wells. Garbage and sewage, as we have been treating them for hundreds of years, must now become history. We have the knowledge and proven technical methods to dispose of our waste and at the same time generate electricity, recycle materials, and turn whatever is left into fertilizer.

Yes, it will take a great deal of money. Municipalities must have a new mindset. Taxes must be used for essential services; all non-essential services must be user-pay. Do we have the kind of vanguard leadership to meet and deal with the environment of the future?

Jacques Cayer

Chelsea, Quebec