From the earliest times in Almonte, the town fathers harnessed the river for water power – to run a sawmill, a flour mill, a number of woolen mills. Up until now the commercialization has been relatively benign. But things have apparently changed.
The greedy developer who owns a small power generation plant in the old flour mill wants to triple its size, and to do so has to alter the course of the river in ways never done before. The town council fought the development for a number of years but ultimately lost. Municipalities in Ontario have no veto power when it comes to projects generating “green” energy. And so:
This is how the Almonte upper falls looked in April of this year.
And this is how things look right now.
Any one who was concerned about the vandalizing of the river was told they were tree-huggers and johnny-come-latelys to the town. The “real” residents had no such objections since they remembered the industrial heritage of Almonte. Sure.
Now granted, this is probably as butt ugly as things will get. The townsfolk have been told the battle is lost, that things won’t look that bad once the blasting and hoe-ramming is done, that we must move on and accept progress, that we need to go back to being the friendly town again. But I wonder….