Brantford, Ontario’s latest flavour-of-the-month sexy project is the proposed clean up of Mohawk Lake and canal. Some politicians love to regale themselves and their groupies in such projects–they look good in campaign literature and make headlines. (Road maintenance, sewer maintenance, lead-free drinking water systems, and resolved land claims not so much.)
By the time the total bill is due and payable, the fanfare has faded, the balloons have deflated and the novelty of the project wains as the politicians start to ramp up the clamour for the next sexy project. More often than not, the taxpayer is left holding the bill for the cost overruns.
Before we get mired in the muck of this proposal, let’s first see if we can keep the Mohawk Lake shore line and drainage areas free of trash. Given the fire department’s excellent knowledge of hazardous materials, the clean up of the shore line and drainage areas would be a good project for staff in between emergencies and maintenance activities. Once these are clean, keeping them clean could be a test to see how important the lake and canal are to citizens.
Despite what Mother Nature is up against, the return of fish show that the water is not as toxic as it once was. Natural remediation may take longer, but it’s cost effective. Taxpayers are learning this the hard way with the cost prohibitive steam-cleaning method being used at the former industrial Greenwich-Mohawk site. But, we must ask, as astute citizens have in the Brantford Expositor, what amount of artificial and/or natural remediation will completely clean these toxic areas?
In considering the Mohawk Lake clean up, let’s also remember the municipal debt, the provincial debt, the federal debt and that the taxpayer is stretched to the limit.
We’ll leave it to two pictures to help you decide what the priority is.
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