We may find out soon if the municipality is really serious about wanting public input on where Wallaceburg will be drawing its water from in the future.
A “public input” meeting held late last month hosted by Stantec Consulting and the Chatham-Kent PUC drew virtually unanimous criticism from attendees and others.
Attendees were shown options to maintain the Wallaceburg water treatment plant, source Lake Huron water, and a plan to draw water from Lake Erie.
Notified the Wallaceburg and Lake Huron options were basically off the table, it appeared to those in attendance they weren’t being asked but told what was going to happen.
There is an old saying to the effect that “if you don’t want the answer, don’t ask the question.”
Wallaceburg Coun. Jeff Wesley called the study’s methodology lacking, the financial rationale shaky and the quality of Lake Erie water poorer than that upstream.
Other than that, the effort could be deemed a success.
Lake Erie water quality forced the closure of intakes in Ohio this year, resulted in foul smelling, discoloured water in Chatham and prompted Detroit to plan on changing its source to Lake Huron.
No stranger to taking on consultants (a firm employed by local health officials engaged in a smear campaign against him just to try and shut him up), Wesley is ready for a fight, as is rookie councillor Carmen McGregor who also can’t find anyone who favours Lake Erie water.
The Wallaceburg and District Chamber of Commerce is opposing Lake Erie water, and local residents have taken up an online petition which garnered more than 100 responses the first day it opened.
It remains to be seen if the consulting firm plows ahead with a plan that is opposed by the public, business, local elected officials and costs more than maintaining the Wallaceburg system.
Will it be government of the people, by the people and for the people or government of consultants, by consultants and for consultants?