Email to the Editor: City’s plan is lazy, cheap, short-sighted

Editor’s note: The planner from the City of Ottawa has reached out to Cornwall Newswatch to say while they work in the nation’s capital, they do live a block from Cornwall city hall.

With the recent town hall happening and every single resident in attendance being against the relocation of the Athletic Grounds, I have to wonder if councillors were actually listening to the residents. There was one person who spoke in favour and he was a City Planner from Ottawa, a non resident, and a very obvious plant by the powers who wish to push this agenda forward. I mean, why else would some random from Ottawa care so much as to drive to Cornwall for an open town hall.

Having said that, Councillors need to think hard about the relocation plan for the Football field and Athletic grounds and why it is a bad idea, on top of the obvious destruction of the most centralized and most historic park in the entire city. The proposed site for relocation is not suitable.

Why is the proposed location a bad idea? There’s a few but I will just talk about the most glaring one, Big Ben. Big Ben is a former dumping ground of Domtar that is off limits when it’s not ski season. There is all sorts of waste that was dumped there primarily during the 70’s. During the summer this hill gives off a foul stench from the decomposing garbage contained within the hill. This noxious substance was so bad that it is one of the reasons why Walmart wanted to move their store from the Brookdale Mall location as employees would complain about the smell frequently.

While I can’t say for sure what the exact break down of the fumes is, allegedly it is mostly methane. “The long term effects of methane gas poisoning can include lasting cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurological problems. Those who have been exposed are also at an increased risk of developing memory loss, depression, epilepsy, claustrophobia, and heart problems” according to Google.

Once these fields are built, it’s not inconceivable that parents and kids could be at this location 5-7 days a week during the summer when Big Ben is at its smelliest. How is this a good idea to expose our Residents to this stench and potentially causing residents long term health problems. How is it good for kids to run up and down a field while breathing in Methane and God knows what else? What teams are going to want to play in league play or tournaments in Cornwall when they are being exposed to this? This plan is not only going to deter sports tourism from coming to the city, but also it will deter our youth from recreation as they won’t want to be exposed to the noxious substances coming from Big Ben. We spent a generation getting rid of our reputation of a City that smells, did City Council and City Administration miss having that reputation?

This seems like massive lawsuits waiting to happen. Why did council and city administration not give the health of our residents consideration when they voted for this as part of the Recreation Master Plan? It’s time to bury this plan in the graveyard where it belongs and to start listening to those who run recreational programs in the city. Let’s do what is right for our Youth. Building housing at the Athletic Grounds is lazy, cheap, and short-sighted, come up with a better plan.

Kyle Bergeron