Incinerator drama could turn into a tragedy and a farce

Get off the fence and say an emphatic and clear ‘no’ to an incinerator now. We’re better than that.

To the Editor,

Re: Nanaimo cited for incinerator shortlist, Nov. 26.

Picture this scene from a new incinerator screenplay: an addict panhandling for money on a cold winter street near you.

First, a compassionate but misguided person approaches the addict gives them money, even though they know they’ll probably only feed their addiction with it.

A second person, this one dressed for business, approaches the addict and you’re close enough to overhear him tell the addict he’s got what he wants – at a price.

Finally, a third person approaches the addict, this time a caring social worker, and offers them a meal and a place to warm up. As they walk away together, you know their time will include a discussion of the addict’s situation and practical ways to get healthy, ways to improve the addict’s life. End of scene, but the story is a long one.

This short scene is in casting right now with Vancouver in the lead role of the street person with a bad garbage problem. Nanaimo is being considered for a role too. But which of the other three characters do we want to audition for?

Building an incinerator in Nanaimo for Vancouver’s garbage problem would make us enablers, and only encourage Vancouver to continue its wasteful behaviour and not face up to its own problem. We’d be no better than pimps, profiting on an unhealthy, wasteful lifestyle to enrich ourselves, at the cost of our reputation and potentially our own health. That damages so many other businesses that are trying to build Nanaimo’s good brand and reputation and pride of place – even the suggestion that we would consider an incinerator erases strides we’ve been making, strides the city has encouraged, initiated and helped pay for.

Look at the success of Nanaimo’s recycling and composting programs over the past couple of years – we’re leaders. I say we tell our mayor and council to become the social worker and help Vancouver and lead by example. Let’s hold up our successes to Vancouver and share what we’ve learned and encourage them to get healthy too.

If little old Nanaimo can reduce our contributions to our landfill as dramatically as we have in the last five years, so can they.

Get off the fence and say an emphatic and clear ‘no’ to an incinerator now. We’re better than that.

Scott LittlejohnNanaimo