Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Daylighting of Dartmouth's Sawmill River - January 20th Community Meeting

Tonight, January 20th, 2015, there was a well-attended community meeting on the topic of daylighting Dartmouth's little-known Sawmill River. Nearly 200 people filled the ballroom of Lake Banook's Micmac Amateur Aquatic Club. Robert Chisholm, NDP MP, emceed the event which  featured keynote speakers Jocelyne Rankin (Ecology Action Centre) and Walter Regan (Sackville Rivers Association).

I had the earlier privilege of hearing Ms. Rankin and Mr. Regan speak in June during the screening of Lost Rivers. You can read my review of that summer event here: Lost Rivers Screening and Sawmill River Daylighting Discussion. Jocelyne is a thoughtful and dedicated professional ecologist who is working tirelessly to daylight Sawmill River for Nova Scotia's cultural and natural well-being. Walter Regan is a passionate and experienced protector of local salmon runs. He is hilarious: I was roaring laughing when he said Americans will gladly come to Dartmouth to buy genuine Starr skates and gallons of maple syrup (once we've daylighted Sawmill River).

Unlike the last Sawmill River meeting I attended, this particular public discussion included several local politicians from all levels of government. There were numerous familiar faces in the audience and there was a noticeable positive buzz concerning the unearthing of the hidden river which runs beneath Downtown Dartmouth. It is clear that many concerned Dartmouthians support the daylighting of Sawmill River.  I encourage you to look further into the topic and to consider signing the Ecology Action Centre's online petition: Daylight Sawmill River in Dartmouth - Ecology Action Centre. As of earlier last night, they only had 400 signatures. Let's boost them up a few thousand! The EAC has a very informative webpage which outlines what they'd like to see done with this proposed project. You can access it here: https://www.ecologyaction.ca/SaveSawMillRiver.

Remnants of waterworks; Starr Manufacturing demolition process. Photo courtesy of Martin Jones.
Thank you to the individuals who spoke with me tonight to express their support of my Dartmouth History Blog, their interest in saving the Sawmill River and their appreciation of my comments (voiced this evening) concerning the promotion of the history of Dartmouth's very own Starr Manufacturing company. Here is an overview, from May 2014, of my thoughts on Starr: http://historydartmouth.blogspot.ca/2014/05/starr-manufacturing.html.

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