Mail bag: 04/01/2021

‘Tilting at windmills’

Dear Editor:

Whilst I have to agree with the sentiments of Scott Stokes (Totalitarianism, March 25), I hardly think that simply pointing out the issues is enough.

Yes there is self silencing, random corporate interference, and an almost immovable chasm between right and left, but the only remedy, if indeed there is one, is identify the causes and propose solutions.

No doubt causing some indignance and insults, I would suggest three of the causes.

Donna McFarlane (What about balance, March 25) points to one: the 24/7 news networks need to fill time by moving away from just reporting news to manipulating facts and people to create specific points of views or, better yet, more controversy to gain audience.

Another is that the internet, billed as the greatest assist to mankind ever, has deteriorated into a social media that glorifies extremes and promotes controversy simply for the sake of building members, an arena where much of the data is suspect if not downright distorted, and a dark web that hides all manner of criminal and perverted goings on.

Also, our educators have forgotten their purpose. They spend so much time “preparing students for leading their lives” they don’t actually teach them much, on the basis that they can get the knowledge they might need from the internet.

And per the previous paragraph, what do they see when they get there?

They do not have the knowledge base to distinguish the good information from the bad, or the mental discipline (something rarely taught in any school these days) to stay away from the sensational and glean all the good that is in fact available on the internet if you are disciplined enough to find it.

Each of these can only be put right if “We the People”/“We the North” demand it. But how do we do that? I wish I were sufficiently brilliant to know.

But until we can all agree that something simply must be done to address the apathy and deficiencies in our society’s approach to honesty, truth and our collective needs, we are doomed to remain Don Quixotes tilting at windmills.   

Jim Taylor,


Be kind

Dear Editor:

Why are there so many arguments happening on social media? What happened to the kind conversations? Why does COVID-19 get to break everyone apart??

If you have no kind words to say, don’t say anything at all. The issue mainly seems to be around masks – but why? Anti-maskers should be allowed to state their opinions and beliefs without backlash from pro-maskers. It’s the same for if you flip it the other way. Pro-maskers should be allowed to state their opinions without big arguments and rude backlash!

Everyone is entitled to opinions and feelings but if it isn’t kind,  what’s the point in saying it? To boost yourself because you are insecure? Everyone seems to assume these days that people do things based only off of their opinions. But you do not know the reasoning behind everyone’s actions!

I’m not saying only rude things have been going on in social media posts! Definitely not! There have been such kind posts and words of thanks posted all over, which is amazing to see as it brings everyone up in these hard times.

But in all things, remember to think before you speak. Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? Will anything good come out of it?

Please keep all this in mind, as we never know what is happening in each others’ lives at the moment – good or bad.

Serena de Witt,


‘Awesome efforts’

Dear Editor:

My wife and I have been missing something the last two or three years, and man, have we ever missed it!

And that is our local grocery store in downtown Elora. It was so close, so convenient, we just took it for granted. Like they say, you don’t know what you have till it’s gone.

Well, we want to thank Deb Kropf so much for doing what she is doing at the old L&M store. And believe me, she is doing it right, totally from the ground up. Can’t wait for it to open, but don’t worry Deb, we will wait. Whenever you’re ready, we’ll be there.

We met Deb briefly last summer at a small backyard get-together, and she was so nice and so sincere. She asked us what we would like in the new store. And she has asked everybody that.

Don’t worry Deb, you can’t stock every little item to please everyone. So, this is a huge virtual hug of appreciation for doing this for your community, and we know you will be supported for your very awesome efforts. Again, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Neil and Dianne Wilson,


It only gets worse’

Dear Editor:

Welcome back to part two of the Erin wastewater fiasco.

Every developer who has bought land around Erin and Hillsburgh has proposed their own mini systems 100% at their own costs. Common sense would have followed that route 20 years ago and our area would have thousands more people and very happy local businesses.

Let me give you a second local septic build that proves the advancements in modern septic systems. Remember my first letter in which the original Centre 2000 system was overbuilt to accommodate 500 houses plus the high school?

I live on Church Blvd. in Erin. About nine years ago the septic was replaced at the two assisted living buildings on Church and Centre streets. About 46 units in total. While having many in-depth discussions with the contractor he told me that there was so much capacity in that one small system, that he could add all the homes on Centre and Church street no problem. There are about 40 homes that could be added.

What about the downtown Erin businesses on holding tanks? What about hooking them all up to one pipe and running it into a new mini system at the Erin Lions park? Sounds simple enough to me. Of course, past mayor Rod Finnie and present Mayor Alan Alls live in the country so are not in the proposed septic footprint, so it will never affect them one cent; they couldn’t care less about us who will pay for it the rest of our lives.

In part three I will explain the real cost with actual quotes for the cost to me of my home to hook up. Stay tuned folks – it only gets worse.

Keith Hayward,


‘Prove it’

Dear Editor:

Re: Erin wastewater treatment plant will cost town up to $32 million, March 25.

Despite continuing to throw numbers and ranges of numbers around like it was no big deal, and councillor Robins continuing to question the town’s ability to handle this future debt load, it’s no wonder a certain percentage of Erin town folk don’t believe anything the town says. And why should they? Erin was, after all, the 2020 recipient of the Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy in the category of municipal government.

Ever since day one, I’ve never felt the least bit secure in the notion that our municipality has always been forthcoming on the issue of a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The main reason is their lack of transparency and ability to properly communicate this “hot topic” within the community.

I’ve heard the party line that this “wastewater technology” is the best and that according to Gary Thorne (technical lead at WSP) “this water quality is not far from drinkable quality”. What exactly does that mean? Wouldn’t it be helpful to provide a full spectrum chemical analyses of the effluent from a similar (i.e., properly working) system in Ontario to be presented for comparison?

I’m not getting the assurance that simple boiling and filtering would render Erin’s WWTP effluent drinkable. And I’m having difficulties believing CVC is on board with 7+ million (warm) litres/day being pumped into a small, delicate river, that happens to be the spawning ground for an environmentally sensitive species of brook trout…. But I could be wrong.

So prove it, Mr. Thorne. How about some guarantees? I mean shouldn’t a $126-million dollar facility come with an ironclad guarantee? After all, the world is littered with environmental disasters that had similar, vague promises and sign-offs from government agencies, but lacked the ironclad guarantees and resources to fix the system and clean up the resulting pollution.

I’ve an idea that is so crazy it just might work…. How about pumping the 7+ million litres/day into a proximal, spent gravel pit, where this “not far from drinkable water” can settle, and eventually percolate subterraneously, cool down and be further “filtered” naturally before it joins the multitudes of cold-water-springs that feed the West Credit River and sustain its vulnerable inhabitants.

Barring that idea, I’ve also come up with another idea that is less half-baked. Setting up an environmental restitution account to be held in escrow (in perpetuity), in the event the Erin WWTP does not perform to WSP’s claims and that this fund could finance remedial measures to fix the WWTP and restore the West Credit River to its original condition.

Either way, the one thing that is lacking with “the Erin WWTP party line” is the much needed assurances that this is a viable and environmentally responsible alternative to the current septic systems within the Town of Erin.

As my pappy always said, “Son, put your money where you mouth is.” Well, it’s about time the Town of Erin stepped up in this regard.

Brett Davis,


‘Form of control’

Dear Editor:

The mere notion of requiring a clean bill of health for services – or denying services in this country based on “perceived ill-health” has a long, shameful history, one exacerbated by the current abject fear of the coronavirus.

Justification of vaccine passports is weak at best, when one considers the alternatives available for mitigating disease transmission (i.e. – mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, following various protocols that we have been doing). Media has relayed these protocols over and over. We get it and for the most part we are doing it.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused significant challenges for government and private enterprise alike. But those challenges should not be used as a pretext to worsen inequalities or backslide on civil liberties. Especially when reasonable alternatives exist.

Every person should be allowed to decide for themselves if they do or do not want to take the COVID-19 vaccine. If I decide not to take the vaccine, my ability to travel within Canada or outside of Canada for a vacation should not be restricted just because I felt that the vaccine was not for me. Each individual should have the right to decide what is best for them. We are all unique in our own way. No one knows more about our own health than we do.

It has been a trying year for us all. The majority of deaths from COVID-19 has been seniors living in long-term care. I believe all efforts should be directed towards fixing that situation. Better full-time, permanent jobs for PSWs working there, better pay, and more inspections. I personally also believe that “for-profit” seniors homes should not exist. COVID-19 exposed the conditions in these type of homes. We are almost through the second wave and still no significant changes made.

We are all, as responsible citizens of this country, trying our best to follow the rules. The suggestion of even discussing vaccine passports being mandatory, even post-pandemic is ridiculous. What form of control is next?

Meg Young,