Sensory Assault on the Wentworth Valley
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Wentworth has always been known for its beautiful valley. I remember when it was truly beautiful...so beautiful it twisted your heart.
When the nights were quiet, the air clear and the water in the streams so pure you could drink it. There were forests, waterfalls, all manner of vegetation, birds and wild animals. And it was there for anyone who wished to observe and enjoy. It was to me, literally, Paradise.
Then came the Trans-Canada highway, later to be called highway 104, and my beautiful world changed forever.
Wentworth Valley is still beautiful but it has taken constant vigilance and citizen action to keep it that way. The twin powers that rule our lives - big business and government - care little for beauty. They have no appreciation for sunrises, sunsets, quiet nights or for clean air, pure water, forests and wild animals. Their lives are focused on the acquisition of money and power. They confuse the value of life with the value of their possessions.
Life for those who care for the valley has been a continuous matter of fighting for the things which should be their right. It is a tiring way to live, always apprehensively awaiting the next assault on your home.
Protecting the Beauty
The NS power company wanted to string a line of high transmission poles down the centre of the valley - that was fought.
The government of Nova Scotia wanted to route the new, improved four lane 104 highway down the middle of the valley leaving no room even for access roads at the valley's south end - that was fought.
The constant threat of clear cutting is continually being fought.
Yesterday, on my way home from points north in Wentworth I suddenly noticed an odd change in the outline of our mountains. Someone was cutting a huge number of trees at the top of Higgins Mountain! I suddenly recalled my neighbour saying to me that there were more windmills being constructed in that area and my inner voice said to me "Here we go again!"
The province of Nova Scotia is diverse in its natural geography. We have, or have had, areas of exquisite scenery of all sorts. Our provincial tourism department trumpets this abroad hoping to lure visitors who will help strengthen our economy. From that point of view alone, why are our beautiful areas being constantly whittled away? One would think they would be held as provincial assets to be used to encourage the business of tourism.
Our county of Cumberland has been severely clearcut on crown land. When I was young, I understood 'crown land' to be areas held by our government for all of us to enjoy and would not be used for lumbering. What an idealistic fool I was!
All around our valley, if you listen in the evening, you can hear the clearcutting machines snorting and rumbling as they tear at our forests. Why? We are told the people of Nova Scotia need the money more than they need the trees. I would venture to guess the money obtained by these undertakings never touches the people of Nova Scotia and that most of it drains away to places, or people, outside our province.
Regarding the recent assault on Higgins Mountain, I don't think you will find people here adverse to NSP moving towards a more sustainable method of supplying us with electrical power. It is that consideration to maintaining our remaining forested areas is not part of the equation. Neither is consultation with people who live around the areas affected.
More to Life
I am disgusted with the way life has evolved during my time here on earth. I don't like that people are constantly urged to buy things and are all but told the total personal value of their life will be equal to the amount of possessions they can amass.
I don't like the way the department of education equates 'good' education with big new factory schools. I don't like that public transportation businesses will carry people only on 100 series highways between urban centres, as they consider the people who live in between and who would value the service, too few to serve. I don't like the way internet providers will not provide service to areas with sparse population. The list goes on.
Here in our beautiful (for now) valley, it makes me very tired to think another battle is on the horizon.
Carol Hyslop, Wentworth Valley