The Thames River, actually, the “Askunesippi” or “Antler River,” begins near Tavistock and Mitchell and flows 273 kilometers into Lake St. Clair. Along its course it is polluted by runoff and threatened by leachate from a proposed landfill of Toronto mid level waste into the Beachville Quarry. It flows over Enbridge’s Line 9 pipe just north of Fanshawe Lake and under the CN railway bridges in downtown London.
On August 14, 2000 it was formally designated a Canadian Heritage River. Forty Five citizens had worked tirelessly for four years to present enough evidence to make that happen, no mean feat. In 2012, the Harper government removed protection for our river with the Omnibus Bill, C–45. Now Alberta bitumen can be shipped east by pipeline and rail without any legal roadblocks.
On World Water Day, Sunday, March 22, at 3:30 pm, twenty three citizens gathered in Thames Park to walk the thirty foot, blue, sparkly, scaled Water Serpent along Wortley Rd. to its destination next to the river, just north of the Horton St. overpass. Tina Stevens carried the massive blue green head of the Serpent and lead us in the traditional Water Song. Many people brought home made signs proclaiming “Water is a Human Right,” and admonishing us to take heed that an “Oil Spill in the Thames (is) Not Worth the Risk.”
Everyone is asked to use social media to pass on the photos of the rally, the river, the railroad trestle, and the city of London in the background. We are asking you to tweet your Member of Parliament to reinstate protection for our waterway using the hash tag #Pledge2Protect.
CTV showed up, to our great surprise, and filmed the Snake Walk. It played a short version, which included parts of the speech by Julie, our Water Committee Chair, and parts of an interview with Roberta, London CoC Chair, on the 6:00 pm news. You can see the film clip here:
Sources: Upper Thames River Conservation Authority – About Us – Thames Heritage River – Watershed Health
Canadians.org – National website – Campaigns – Water
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