One would think that our provincial government, in these times of slowdown in the treasury’s revenue sources, i.e. oil, iron ore, nickel, etc., that they would be anxious to get other economic engines started.
Take, for example, Husky Energy wanting to develop a facility in Argentia, a brown-field site — no, a dark-brown-field site if there ever was one. Ripe for development, anxious for development, studied to death by all levels of government, remediated by the federal government at a cost of $130 million plus — but no, there are those in the Confusion Building (who are not laid off but probably should be, for our sakes) who overvalue a small body of water just south of the former Argentia airfield call “The Pond.”
Now, in 1942 when American armed forces personnel wanted to dump or get rid of something, guess where they put it — in The Pond. Fuel, old tires, even a vehicle or two or three have been known to be deposited there, and so it has been for 60 years.
As this old fella would say, everything from a nail to an anchor has gone into The Pond. Surprisingly, it is not filled.
There is a rumour that Jimmy Hoffa is stored there. It is so bad that the gulls will not pitch there. Just the other day a chap told me that he threw a beach rock into it and it floated for a while and then disintegrated. Enough, says you, but you get the picture of The Pond. By the way, the federal government was going to backfill it but deemed it too expensive.
Now, along comes Husky, who wants to build a facility that would bring prosperity to this end of the Avalon, outside the sacred overpass and metro city. The facility will require a huge excavation and a good dumping site would be the old American dumping ground, The Pond. The rubber-boot gang says no, not until it is studied and studied and studied.
Now there are other uses, says the old gang of them (not mine). The location provides salt-bearing soil, being next to the ocean you see, and it could be stored on the old Argentia runway, dried and used by whomever to spread on the highways instead of salt and sand. You know now they are not thinking, using the old noggin to avoid layoff. Another use for this fill would be to store it and municipalities that need fill across the island to backfill their closed dump sites would come and truck it away free of charge, but who will be responsible for the haulage fees? Not mentioned. Now, one would wonder whether this crowd is in Environment or the new Department of Innovation. Do not lay them off; lock them up, before they harm themselves.
This is all a lot of foolishness. Well, you are right, folks; that is just what is obstructing development in Argentia — a lot of foolishness!
William P. Hogan
Mayor of Placentia