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Letter to the Editor: Get involved folks – Wakamow Valley is at stake!!

A letter to the editor from Percy Hill
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(Getty Images)

The proposal (it may be well beyond “proposal” — who knows?) to construct upscale housing in Wakamow Valley has proceeded as secretly as possible aided and abetted by an equally secretive City Hall regime. 

Why? Because this City Hall regime knows that to their way they must sneak this OUTLANDISH proposal past the CITIZENS of Moose Jaw. To successfully cut off citizen pushback they use “SHOCK & AWE” tactics — suddenly hit elected councillors with a paper storm leaving them little time to respond effectively. This City Hall regime is prepared to destroy unreplaceable UPSCALE PARKLAND and turn it into UPSCALE HOUSING. Municipal Government is said to be close to its electorate and therefore make “in-touch” decisions. 

Moose Jaw’s present City Hall regime has replaced this BASTION OF DEMOCRACY with a BASTION OF HYPOCRACY. 

Most concerning is the damaging and destructive effect upon Community Spirit. Understanding the loss of outlying natural areas, Moose Jaw citizens recognized that the river valley is a gift that cannot be replaced, therefore it must be PROTECTED and PRESERVED. Concern from the early years grew to the degree that something had to done so citizens jumped on board in the late 1960s to reverse the abuse and proceed with the cleanup of an aesthetic and environmental mess. They (including City Hall) pressed for political action which resulted in the passage of the Wakamow Valley Authority Act along with provincial startup funds. Instant assistance began from volunteers, service clubs, businesses, out-of-city experts (engineers) donating work and advice from beginning to completion of projects, staff contributed beyond reason; people bequeathed money, houses and property; the boards and committees gave whatever was required of them — the list goes on and on. 

This long term and continuing citizen commitment to the rejuvenation of this Wakamow Walley Oasis is arguably amongst the largest and lonest commitment, of this type, to help make this city and area a good place in which to live.

To carve up Wakamow Valley to accommodate individual personal use and satisfaction is a kick in the gut of Community Spirit that will cause historical damage not to be forgotten. 

Allowing this development to proceed sets a precedent that privately owned Valley property can be similarly developed and that, money can buy rezoning and purchasing of property for any use imaginable. Also, by permitting this development to proceed in effect proclaims it to being a safe zone in description only, any lack of ensuring safety triggers liability. For example: the designated school zone safe area at Empire School tragedy triggered for reaching liability resulting in a $11,000,000 + out-of-court settlement.    

To base this development on a 1:500 years level is “poor science” because of the ongoing creation of drainage systems that continually change the speed and amount of water released. 1:500 also ignores the ever-changing more frequent other year floods. 

Floodways since the last glacier have existed as a safety valve, using up floodway damages that safety valve. The Valley has examples of what happens then. The Wakamow Valley Authority has recently spent approximately $900,000 and used thousands of valley trees to prevent further damage to an area of compromised floodway, no guarantee of success.

This letter is only a sketch leaving out the details and many other concerns, such as: nearby Sheer Keys, shallow backyard wells, slump zones, slumping, use of floodway for access and most of all, leaves out other citizen concerns and opinions. 

Excluding our elected councillors and citizens from months of secret deliberations smacks DICTATORIAL tactics. This mayor seems to think that he can whip OUR councillors, whomever they are, into shape and to follow in HIS footsteps. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!!


-- Percy Hill  

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.  

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