By SUSAN SHERRING
Richmond residents have scored a well-deserved victory in their
fight against the continuing problems with the Richmond pumping
It's been a long and arduous fight, with plenty of naysayers
along the way.
But last week, the City of Ottawa pleaded guilty to a charge
under the provincial Environmental Protection Act and was fined
The fine -- and admission of guilt -- confirms what Richmond
residents have been saying for some time now: The pumping station
"We've been proven right," said Bruce Webster, the president of
the Richmond Village Association.
But it seems being right isn't as sweet as you might think.
"Of course, the city is paying the fine, so we as taxpayers are
paying the fine. And the money goes to the Ministry of the
Being fined for being right isn't quite what the residents had in
On top of that, there's still no guarantee the problem of the
stench won't continue, Webster said.
While he's encouraged to have the support of many senior level
city staff, along with Rideau-Goulbourn Coun. Glenn Brooks, Webster
and other residents fear what effect this has had on property
Brooks inherited the Richmond residents and the pumping station
-- formerly represented by Janet Stavinga -- through the
reconfiguration of the wards.
Here's part of what Stavinga wrote back in 2003, in strong
support of the pipeline, basically saying what's done is done, she's
right and the residents -- well, there's no mention of the
"In the end, the pipeline has won the approval of the Ministry of
the Environment and the support of every elected body that has ever
considered the matter. The pipeline is a safe, effective, and
"On-site option would likely require at least another year of
review under the provincial Environmental Assessment process. That
delay would compound environmental problems at the Munster lagoons
and require additional hauling of sewage at an annual cost of
$500,000. Now, we move forward."
Not too caring.
Clearly, Stavinga had no interest in giving too much thought to
what her Richmond residents wanted.
Innes Coun. Rainer Bloess was one of the few city councillors to
offer a sympathetic -- and concerned -- shoulder to the group who
were worried about the quality of life.
"I guess this (court decision) isn't entirely unexpected," Bloess
While he originally supported the plan -- based on Stavinga's
support and staff's recommendation -- he began to have serious
concerns several years ago, prompted by the Richmond residents'
fight against the station.
Those concerns solidified when he began representing the ward
after the election.
"These residents have a right to enjoy sitting in their
backyards," Brooks said yesterday.
To date, residents say sitting outside and enjoying the fresh air
has been a hit-and-miss experience.
"This is just one of many problems I've inherited (from Stavinga),"
a frustrated Brooks said.
It was back in the spring of 2005 that the new Munster Hamlet
forcemain began pumping sewage to the Richmond Pumping station.
Brooks is worried about the eventual costs of this mistake,
saying: "It think it could end up costing us (millions)."
While the $65,000 fine is costing all Ottawa taxpayers --
including those Richmond residents -- there is a small silver
By entering a guilty plea early, the city avoided costs
associated with a long legal battle, which could likely have
included picking up the ministry's legal costs. And a second charge
was withdrawn by the Crown.
Small consolation for the group in Richmond, of course.
Seems they're now slowly realizing that you can fight City Hall.
In fact, you can fight City Hall and win. Unfortunately, it might