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September 11, 2008

Is it Really Progress if We Destroy What Was Already Perfect?

Lakefielddrive_3 Can the Lakefield-Peterborough River Road devastation teach us some important lessons about Del Mastro's resort mega-project plans for Little Lake?

I took this photo a few weeks ago while I was driving between Peterborough and Lakefield.

It was the first time I had driven this stretch of road since the road crews arrived to rework this once-beautiful winding stretch of highway into a straight piece of road. The work is being done in advance of the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the canal.

The photos I took that day don't properly convey how the landscape has been devastated in the name of progress.

The tiny streams that used to follow the path of the winding road just south of Lakefield have been drained and filled with huge, ugly chunks of crushed rock.

The forest has being forced to yield to the all-mighty road.

What was once the most peaceful, scenic drive imaginable -- a route I'd go outCanaldeservesbetter_2 of my way to enjoy -- has been destroyed.

The most encouraging sign I spotted that day was, quite literally, a sign -- a bold statement posted on a tree that expressed my sentiments exactly:


Before the plans for Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro's dream of a $90 million mega-resort on Little Lake are allowed to bulldoze ahead, area citizens might want to take the time to take the drive between Peterborough and Lakefield and to ask themselves this one simple question:

Is it really progress if we destroy what was already perfect?


Peterborough residents are responding with great skepticism to the Little Lake proposal. I'll be continuing to track the responses, both positive and negative, as they continue to arrive. If you'd like to read a full found-up of responses (including the tedious and the ridiculous, they're out there, too.)

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner wonders why Del Mastro isn't being upfront about who the developer behind the proposal is: after all, if it's just an innocent brainstorming process with a buy with a good idea, there's nothing to be lost by publicly thanking this good corporate citizen for putting forth an interesting proposal, right?

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner wonders why Del Mastro is out of tune with the environmental priorities of his constituents: "In a time when politicians looking out for the interest in Peterborough should be trying to be more ecological and preserve the park spaces we have, I must question what vision Del Mastro has for Peterborough. Listen to the residents of Peterborough; Peterborough should be promoted for its natural beauty without taking away park space for condos and Imax theatres."

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner makes this important point: Little Lake is indeed a 'jewel' as Mayor Paul Ayotte says, but I would humbly submit that it should not be 'taken advantage of' [as Ayotte had suggested]. It remains a jewel because it is still largely unspoilt by aggressive urban land use.

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner points out that you can't get Little Lake back once it has been destroyed: "Why would Mr. Del Mastro want to destroy what we have by building a concrete jungle right on the lake? Once the lakefront is destroyed there is no getting it back -- ever....This may be his vision for the future but there are a lot of people who are tired of having politicians push their own agenda on us and our natural environment. Future generations will bemoan the fact that "at one time we had a beautiful park along the lake here in Peterborough but that is all gone now and all we have left is concrete because politicians were so shortsighted and greedy.'"

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner asks: "So what is MP Dean Del Mastro doing to help us prepare for the realities that lie ahead? Shouldn't someone like the media and other politicians start to hold him accountable? At this time in our post-carbon civilization someone has to ask MP Dean Del Mastro what is he doing to support seniors, the poor, and the working poor and the middle class to help them prepare for their uncertain future."

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner calls Del Mastro on his latest reference to the train that may be (or may not be) coming to our riding: "Once again, Dean Del Mastro has referred to the coming rail service in regard to his plan for the Little Lake development. It was my understanding that Via Rail was doing another study as to whether a commuter service is feasible (based on our MP's inflated numbers of possible users). I would like to see some proof of Via's agreement to this supposed local commuter service."

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner describes the Little Lake proposal as a "kids not wanted" master plan and then calls a spade a spade: "Despite the fact that the plan proposes merely leasing the land from the federal government, and while I hesitate to mix the ugliness of politics with the absolute necessity for extreme sarcasm, the fact that this outright "free enterprise" theft of priceless public property is headed by Peterborough's right wing Conservative MP is not lost on me."

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner cuts to the chase: "Destroy Little Lake? Turn a pristine jewel in the midst of our city into a polluting noisemaker? Take another slice of the shoreline for nothing but commercial gain? Pave over green space to accommodate a monstrosity?" [letter continues with equal passion.]


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