August 14, 1958 (24th Parliament, 1st Session)


George Stanley White (Government Whip in the Senate)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. White:

Mr. Chairman, I want to take about five minutes of the time of the committee to say a word or two about western Ontario and the development there, past, present and future. I wish to bring to the attention of the minister the site that was first mentioned and developed by the late John R. MacNicol, a former member of this house. That area was situated in Kent county adjacent to the river Thames on No. 2 highway. This was the site of an Indian village which was destroyed by invading Americans many years ago. The site was lost for many years. Through the efforts of John R. MacNicol and many of the local residents the area has been developed, a small park was provided there and any time that I ever
Supply-Northern Affairs drive that way I find the park is in use by tourists and visitors from the United States and the surrounding area. It is my opinion that this could be expanded.
I understand that in the area there are many people who are in possession of Indian relics of one kind or another and that possibly on the site a museum could be constructed which would house-and I know there are many who would contribute-those Indian relics to this museum. There are also some materials which were used by the pioneers which may disappear entirely from the Ontario scene in a very few years. They could well be housed there. I hope the minister will give serious consideration to the expansion of this project because it is situated on a very busy highway and it is a pleasant place for people to stop off at and rest. It should be very carefully considered by the minister.
While I am mentioning the name of John R. MacNicol may I say that I believe he was one of those who first mentioned the possibility of the development of the South Saskatchewan river dam.
I want to turn now for a moment or two to the Thames river valley authority and to endorse the words of the hon. member for Oxford who preceded me a little while ago. I want to point out to the minister that the work commenced by that authority some years ago is now about half completed. I refer to the major project. The Fanshaw dam has now been in existence for some years and has proven a boon to the community. But there are many other developments on the upper Thames valley which have been contemplated, and I believe considered by the minister, and we are hoping that, as the hon. member for Oxford mentioned, the pilot project will be completed.
The water problems in southwestern Ontario are acute and any development there should take water conservation into consideration. I am one of those who believe that the restoration of our forests is a fundamental part of any conservation program so that any area in the watershed that can possibly be considered as submarginal land should be devoted to forest growth.
Another problem has developed. The Fanshaw dam in the upper Thames valley was sold to the residents of the valley as a conservation measure to ensure a fresh and continuous flow of water through and beyond the city of London. However as soon as the dam was completed the city of London commenced to draw off water for city use. They polluted it with sewage and dumped it back into the river. For 50 years the city of London has also been using artesian wells nearby. Actually

what has happened is that in a sense the city of London has been stealing water from the surrounding municipalities. Those municipalities find this embarrassing and the farmers in the nearby areas not only find it embarrassing but expensive because of the lack of water. It is a detriment to the farms in the community and a financial loss to many of the farmers. Therefore, when we are considering a conservation program, we should have regard for use of water.
A program that I advocated-and I am quite certain I was not one of the originators-at the University of Western Ontario some 13 years ago was to draw a supply of water for the western Ontario area from lake Huron by means of a pipe line. It would supply many municipalities en route to the city. Now with the introduction of the Ontario water resources commission this plan is under very serious consideration at this time. The city of London favoured the plan. I mention this because it has a relationship to the conservation of water and other resources in the upper Thames valley area.
But, strange as it may seem, the public utilities commission which provides the water for the municipalities and have, as I said, secured their supply of water from the adjacent municipalities by artesian wells are inclined to oppose this forward-looking plan of the Ontario water resources commission. The public utilities propose a filtration plant at the Fanshaw upper Thames valley site. The net result will be that there will be less pure clean water flowing down the Thames river through London, Ontario, and more polluted water added for questionable downstream benefits.
The department of northern affairs and all other public bodies interested in this problem should take a long forward look at it, not with a view to ascertaining what the results might be tomorrow but what the needs and results might be 50 years or more hence. I am not against, in fact I am for, the completion of the upper Thames valley authority plan as soon as possible. However,
I want it to be a plan which will serve the greatest number of people in the area and which will give the greatest possible benefits for the dollars spent.
I do not want to take any more of the time of the committee in discussing the upper Thames valley authority. I hope the minister will look favourably upon the plan and consider it when he is compiling his estimates for the coming year.
I do want to say a word about national parks. I was very interested, as I am sure the members of the committee were, in what the hon. member for Oxford said about

the problem of Long Point island. I endorse what he had to say. I should like to refer also to an area called Mitchells bay where United States interests hold a long-term lease. They secured this lease from the former government. I, like the Prime Minister, believe in Canada for Canadians. I hope that when these leases run out they will not be renewed. I hope that the policy of the government eventually will be to create a national park in that heavily populated area.

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