--------------  Ottawa Valley News  --------------

Opposition to boat bypass heats up
at Willola Beach protest

By Karen Secord                                                                                               July 22, 2004
Ottawa Valley News

They sang. They raised their fists in the air. They strategized.

People opposed to the construction of a boat bypass, on a slice of city owned property in Willola Beach and in the Morris Island Conservation Area, came out in force on Saturday afternoon to listen and to vent their frustration.

“We are here to make a difference and to stand up for what’s right,” said Mike Campbell, President of the Willola Beach Property Owner’s Association.

Campbell was the first of several speakers to take to the stage and wonder out loud how a route for the boat bypass could garner so much government support in the face of so much opposition from area residents.

“This is a disgrace. There is something else behind this.”

                                             - Terry Kilrea, founder of the People's Voice.



“I wish the mayor and councillor’s would bring themselves up to speed and see what they’re doing to you people,” said Terry Kilrea, former mayoral candidate and founder of the People’s Voice. “This is a disgrace. There is something else behind this. The City of Ottawa doesn’t have a mayor they have a puppet and someone is pulling his strings.”

Adele Muldoon, a director on the Rural Council gave the Willola Beach Property Owner’s Association credit for “slowly unraveling the shroud of secrecy that has enveloped this project from the beginning” and pledged her support for their future endeavors.

Children directed cars into the tiny neighbourhood and a convoy of tractors, driven to the site by area farmers, welcomed protesters with the Lanark Landowner Association’s (LLA) trademark “Back Off Government” signs.

“Our methods are visible, confrontational and direct,” admitted LLA Director Jack MacLaren of the tactics employed by his 1,000-member organization. “I called 10 farmers and look what we got. If we wanted to we could block this road.”

“We are opposed to over regulation by government,” MacLaren continued. “The government is forcing you to accept something you don’t want.”

Organized by Willola Beach resident Joanna Golds, the protest also included a barbeque, testimonials from children, the opportunity to donate to a legal fund, and some creative entertainment.

Renfrew folk singer Linda Grenier performed “The Power of 5 or 6”, a song she wrote especially for the event:

5 or 6 spoke, only to be ignored
They scoffed and waved it off on the city board
But there’s hundreds behind them and united w stand
With the Power of 5 or 6, we will keep our land!

 Joanna Golds and Lees Burke had young and old chanting to the beat of Pink Floyd’s Brick in the Wall:

All in All they just don’t listen at City Hall
All in All they just don’t listen at City Hall
No Damn support from our Councillor
He just keep feeding us the Bull
Hey! Eli can you hear us now

Ward 5 Coun. Eli El-Chantiry did not attend the protest.

“I’m still working to get the proponent to do a social impact study.”

              - Ward 5 Coun. Eli El-Chantiry, who did not attend the protest.



“I’m still working as hard as I can for the traffic report from the city,” El-Chantiry said. “I’m still working to get the proponent to do a social impact study. I’m doing my best to deal with a decision that’s already been made and already been passed.”

For many of the speakers the bottom line is the most important issue.

“In a city that cannot afford to pick up small business’ garbage, has cancelled leaf and yard waste pickup, reduced its recycling program and reduced trimming of grass along our roadways to once a year, it is fiscally irresponsible to enter into the boat bypass venture,” said Shirley Dolan, Secretary/Treasurer of the West Carleton Rural Association. “In addition to an estimated investment of $1.4 million, this venture is guaranteed to cost taxpayers money in the years to come with little or no return on investment…Indeed, there is a multitude of reasons why this venture in its present form should be stopped. Here! Now! Today!”

Vydon Acres residents Susan and Shawn Stewart have been appalled that the city owned Morris Island Conservation Area would even be considered for such a project.  They have taken it upon themselves to poll users of the area on the bypass and got up on stage to report their findings.

“We are counting on other residents in the City of Ottawa to say that this is a very poor use of taxpayer dollars.”

                                            - Shawn Stewart, resident of Vydon Acres.



“Without exception in the last two weekends people have been shocked that this is happening and that their tax dollars are being spent on it,” said Mr. Stewart. “We are counting on other residents in the City of Ottawa to say that this is a very poor use of taxpayer dollars.”

Willola Beach resident Dr. Bruce Collier stole his speech from Winston Churchill.

“…I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our homes, to ride out the storm of was, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone…We shall go on to the end, we shall fight City Hall on August 17, we shall fight on the river, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air and we shall defend our land…”

                                                                Ottawa Valley News