Opinion: Huntsville Forrester -
Seventy-five years ago, my aunt and uncle discovered the serene beauty of the Haliburton forests and lakes. With their own inexpert hands, they erected a small cottage on the eastern shore of Otter Lake, near Dorset.
Since then, our family has come to love this place, generation after generation, willingly making four to five-hour trips from cities across Ontario as often as possible. I myself have been coming here for over 50 years. We are drawn by the welcoming people of the area, and by the sights, sounds and scents of woodland and water: the gentle lapping of waves on the rocks, the whispering breeze in the pines and hemlocks, the nighttime distant call of a loon, the scolding of a red squirrel, the slap of a beaver's tail, the quiet hoot of an owl, the song of a wood thrush, the peaceful dusk with a glowing sunset, the swish of a paddle and occasionally even the distant howl of a wolf. Families will no longer be able to safely enjoy quiet walks together, looking for wild strawberries, collecting special pebbles, exploding the jewel weed seeds, or spotting a raven, hawk or pileated woodpecker.
This all may soon be lost, dwindling into distant memory. It seems likely to be replaced with blasting and industrial noise on Harvey Lake, fleets of dump trucks roaring by (10 per hour) throughout the day and night, creating diesel fumes, clashing gears and whirlwinds of dust. Our own cottage is less than 50 feet from the roadway, so this will effectively bring to an end the pleasant, peaceful ways we have known for so many years.
This is progress; this is the way of today's world. It seems that the quest for dollars and profits comes before the preservation of our natural environment, and never mind who or what is harmed in the process. I realize that we all have to make a living and to live together, but surely not at such expense.
So, sadly, it could well be time to say goodbye to this haven and to retreat to the narrow confines of urban life. I am now in my 80th year, and have had a generous share of time near the lake and forest. I feel so sorry for the younger members of my family who will likely be denied this part of their Canadian heritage.
These are my immediate concerns regarding the proposed project. I also note that CBC Radio has had a feature item this week, making us aware that Canada has the worst record of all the G7 nations in protection of parks and wilderness lands, so I guess we shouldn't be too surprised.
- Mary Sue Riggs