In defense of Ottawa Riverkeeper
Having done volunteer work with the Ottawa Riverkeeper organization over 4 years, I was astonished to read the letter of Andy Black (April 17) implying that the organization was a front for governments and somehow covering up priority issues on the Ottawa River.
In my experience, this is an upfront non-governmental organization made up of dedicated people. We need this kind of organization for protection and conservation of our Ottawa River since no government or agency has direct responsibility for river protection -- so there is a risk that river issues will fall between the cracks.
Specifically on the Chalk River nuclear waste dump site, Ottawa Riverkeeper has been highlighting and addressing its risks to the river. The proposal to build the dump came in 2016. Riverkeeper people have been involved at every stage in the review process, in public and private meetings, and putting information out to the public on the risks to the river. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is reviewing public comments on a first draft of an assessment of the proposal, and a federal Environmental Assessment is also being done. The dump has not been approved, since the proposal reviews have not been completed. Information on the review process is available on the CNSC website.
Ottawa Riverkeeper gets 14% of its funding from governments -- the rest comes from private donors, foundations, and fundraising activities. So it’s hard to imagine why anyone would think the organization is beholden to governments.
Information on the Ottawa Riverkeeper organization, its funding and activities, is available on their website and I encourage people to take a look at the good things done by this group.