Editorial: Spring Cleaning

Well spring has sprung and the maple sap is running nicely. We are all itching to get outside more, wash the windows, and generally get things ready for spring/summer. We are hankering for gardening, biking, and getting out on the Ottawa River.

Just as we spruce up the house and focus on the yard during spring, now is the time to be thinking of how you will become more engaged in your community. There are myriad issues to immerse yourself in. With the changing of the seasons we have the opportunity to shift gears and discuss what’s going on or should be going on and how you can influence those issues and activities.

Many have been brought up in this newspaper including landfill longevity (bag tags), local policing (switching to the OPP) and fire service issues (waiting for the arbitration decision), the future or not of NRU and our largest local employer and growth issues related to a new local Official Plan. There is so much else going on, like the revitalization of the Deep River and District Hospital Foundation, the good work of the Deep River and District Community Foundation and North Renfrew Family Services, the Deep River and Area Food Bank, the Chalk River and Area Lions Club, the Rotary Club of North Renfrew… well, you get the picture.

The common theme of most of these issues and the work of the listed organizations is that they impact all 7,300 of us who live in North Renfrew. When we get sick or go for blood tests we go to our district hospital, when we are hungry we go to the area food bank, if we want to serve our community we join the area Lions or Rotary clubs. Would we be best served by one local (not the OPP) police service? What about one local fire service? We are already served by one “local” ambulance service.

Yes, it is contentious, fraught with emotional statements like “over my dead body” (we all get cared for through Valley Funeral Home), and entails a lot of work to accomplish. But perhaps it is time, yet once again, to have a serious conversation about the “A” word – amalgamation.

It’s easy to write about the amalgamation of Laurentian Hills, Head, Clara, Maria and Deep River in an editorial, however this generational issue just makes sense now. We all shop at the one major food store, we all have our kids in the same local hockey program, we swim at the same local community pool, share services from the same hospital and send our garbage to a jointly operated (amalgamated?) landfill. It’s in the best interest of our kids and grandkids that we get over potentially divisive politics and start considering and discussing community centric, long term solutions for all of us here in North Renfrew.