To The Editor,
I am writing in response to the February 18 article titled “Cement plant hearing begins on November 2” in which our organization, Ottawa Riverkeeper, is mentioned.
The article quotes a few citizens who state that Ottawa Riverkeeper has received money from Colacem. This is factually incorrect. We never have.
Ottawa Riverkeeper proactively and publicly discloses all of its funding sources in our bilingual Annual Reports. Our audited financial statements are made public as well. (Both can be found under the Publications section of our website, www.ottawariverkeeper.ca). We do this because we strongly believe that we are accountable to the public, and to our donors, for how we earn and spend our money.
I would also like to address the citizens’ statements about the perceived lack of support from Ottawa Riverkeeper in opposing the Colacem plant.
First and foremost, Ottawa Riverkeeper wholeheartedly acknowledges and encourages all residents – who, like us, care deeply about clean water and a healthy watershed – to make themselves heard whenever a project or development poses a potential threat to our most precious resource. It is critically important to shine a light on these projects and ask the tough questions – that is the only way proponents can be held accountable for their actions and impacts. For that, we applaud Action Champlain and the dozens of other citizens’ groups throughout the Ottawa River watershed leading the charge to shine lights on issues such as nuclear waste disposal, ski hill expansions, abandoned mine sites, groundwater contamination, plastic pollution, and many more. Indeed, there are many issues to be dealt with in our vast watershed – over 70 times the size of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell – and no one group can do it alone.
Finally, throughout the past few years, Ottawa Riverkeeper has continued to ask questions to understand how the Colacem plant will impact the river. This includes in the spring of 2019 during the comment period for a Permit To Take Water application (EBR proposal number 013-4547) for the L’Orignal site. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks has asked that Colacem completes additional consultations with three groups including Ottawa Riverkeeper before this permit will be issued. We expect that meeting to happen in the coming weeks and look forward to sharing our thoughts and concerns with Colacem then.
Elizabeth Logue, Riverkeeper