March 5: Letters to the Editor

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Re: “Council backs coal mining consultation and headwater protections” in The News’ Feb. 26 edition

Start by protecting what’s ours to protect.

I commend council, and Ward 1 Coun. Robert Parks in particular, for voting to examine the feasibility of a headwater protection strategy for Strathcona County.

“It is critical that as a community we take responsibility for the resources that feed us and work together to ensure that decisions are made with consultation and respect,” Parks said. “As a municipality, we have a duty to protect our drinking water and larger ecosystem . . . municipalities must be at the table when policies that may impact them are made.”

But as someone who has worked for over a decade to see this county protect farmland and the ecosystem of which it is part, I find these statements truly ironic.

When the Multi Purpose Agriculture Facility, now known as ‘The Pointe,’ is built, a sewage storage lagoon will be constructed within 1,700 feet of Pointe aux Pins Creek and its wildlife corridor. The Pointe will occupy hundreds of acres of prime farmland that will be taken out of production for all time.


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Why does the same principle of responsibility not apply to protecting the county’s own resources? Weren’t all councillors ‘at the table’ when decisions and policies were made that could have protected prime farmland, “a resource that feeds us,” and Pointe aux Pins Creek, one of the county’s significant water features?

The words “with consultation and respect” are particularly galling. Despite being presented with facts to the contrary, some councillors are fond of making statements like these: “We have plenty of farmland.” “Plebiscites aren’t necessary.” We can’t continuously be going to the public.” “If you don’t like our decisions, vote us out.”

Perhaps it’s easier to express outrage about an issue over which one has no direct influence than it is to take a firm stand about things for which one might take political heat and which might offend campaign donors.

Is it not critical that as a municipality Strathcona County protect the waterways and ecosystems that are its responsibility and over which it does have control? Are the county’s own resources not worthy of the same level of commitment and passion?

— Lois Gordon, Bremner

Lives more important than livelihoods

Let’s set one thing straight. No rational person in this province thinks their job is as important as their life. With this said, why are we being beaten over the head with rhetoric about “lives and livelihoods?”

Kenney and the UCP have been using this catchphrase as cover for why they are allowing Albertans into shopping malls and casinos but prohibiting Albertans from visiting the homes of their families. Yes, there are risks present in both situations but there is a serious question we all need to ask: is reopening all these businesses actually beneficial to our health? Would the people whose livelihoods are being “saved” be better supported by government investment instead of being forced back to work?

And would our collective mental well-being be better off with more closed businesses but guidelines that permit us to spend time with our loved ones?

— T.J. Radke, Edmonton

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