I am feeling blue. I sat down to breakfast this morning with the Guelph Tribune and immediately saw red.
“Water worries mean added red tape in the community”, read the headline.
For the record, the article is informative, accurate and well-written and the editorial came down on the side of protecting our water. Please read them both. And I note the online headline reads a little differently – “Water protection means more red tape”.
It was that first headline that bugged me.
I just came back from a country where there clearly is no “red tape”. The rivers were open sewers and bottled water was not a convenience but a matter of health and safety. Tap water was not safe to drink (which makes you shower with your mouth firmly closed).
When do we stop calling environmental protection and health and safety “red tape”? I get that government’s execution of regulations can often be unnecessarily bureaucratic and I am all for getting the waste out of the regulatory approval system – just not the protection of my quality of life.
If you want a bureaucracy that is not working to protect our water look no further than the Ministry of Environment who has just granted River Valley Developments Inc. (formerly called Dolime) a permit to take water. This is the quarry on the west-end of the city that is punching a hole through the layer of rock that protects our drinking water aquifer from contamination. The City has been fighting to stop this threat to our water supply for years and getting nowhere despite the Clean Water Act and its efforts to identify and mitigate risks to water quality.
The City is appealing the issuance of the permit. No, let me correct that. First we have to argue the right to appeal to a quasi-judicial body, the Environmental Review Tribunal of Ontario. We have 15 days to submit our case. If we win that, we will have an opportunity to appeal this water taking on your behalf.