Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff


with 3 comments



Eight years ago, when the thought of retirement began to creep into the routine of our frenetic city life, the idea of finding quietude and simplicity in a place close to nature became a worthy objective. We knew of Southampton. Friends of ours retired in this simple summer town spreading up from the shore of Lake Huron at the mouth of the Saugeen River. The Bruce Peninsula, with all its natural allure and waiting-for-us-to- discover trails, was full with the promise of a much simpler life. Saugeen Shores would be the ideal choice for us. Oh, we were aware of the size of the nearby Bruce Nuclear Plant. Yes, we saw the Wind Turbines at the Information Centre. But we never gave either a second thought. We found our Shangri La, so to speak. The quiet contentment we were looking for would be all around us.

Not so today.

There is a fault line running under the length of Saugeen Shores. Two tectonic plates, one the proliferation of Wind Turbines (especially the C.A.W. Turbine), the other the proposed Deep Geological Repositories (DGR) for Nuclear Waste, shift and grate against each other. This once quiet community has become a community of protestors. Concerned citizens have formed committees against both. There are coalitions, review panels, mountains of research on both sides, accusations against local politicos, a claimed lack of transparency from council and nuclear authorities and the specter of a hosting agreement that suggests that surrounding municipalities are receiving upwards of $500,000 annually to support DGR plans. It is said that these municipalities will be splitting a 34 million dollar windfall by 2034 for their willingness to back the DGR. Conflict of interest, closed door meetings, a lack of transparency and questions of resident support all add to the tremors now shaking the foundations of innocence that once bolstered this town.

It saddens us to see this happen. This kind of controversy isn’t what we expected when we retired here.

Even so, our life hasn’t changed. There is still a slow, simple pace to our daily comings and goings.

With the potential of nuclear waste beneath us and wind turbine turbulence surrounding us, perhaps the magnitude of the controversy will one day change things. Perhaps not.

Right now it matters little. The reality of the DGR, if it happens, is decades away. Past the time when we will even care.

Upcoming generations will be affected. They should get involved now. From what I’ve seen they are not.

Meantime, we will live our lives as we intended. For all of the back-and-forth, the finger-pointing, the denials, the he-said-they-said and the hand-wringing – the sun still shines – most days.

3 Responses

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  1. Hi Ed, I love reading your very reflective and thoughtful posts. You don’t write enough of them, in my book. Your writing style gives a lovely window into a world that I begin to think about more and more. Being a retired adman. I think I have a good few useful years yet. But, at 55, the thought of slowing down at some stage begins to appeal.

    Conor Bofin

    October 9, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    • Thanks Conor Yes, I know I should write more posts. And I will. Just haven’t had the time. We just came off a difficult year seeing to aging (90+) parents and settling them into long-term care. I can’t recommend strongly enough that we should all have our financial and legal documents settled and up to date. Not fun. And YES, KEEP THINKING ABOUT BECOMING A RETIRED ADMAN…it is most liberating. And you can always stay in touch with your mates via Facebook. Take care. Be well. Ed

      Follow my Blog



      October 9, 2013 at 5:06 PM

  2. Hi Ed.
    Thanks for your blog. I know just how frustrated you must be with the changes taking place in your
    favourite little corner of this vast country. We humans were destined to pollute wherever we go, be it
    our homes, our communities, our country, our Stratosphere, indeed other planets. Oh, I forgot, we have just witnessed a satellite leaving the outer reaches of our Solar-system behind and heading–who knows where. In so many ways we are lucky to be living today because we are just witnessing the beginning of a world that will become a very sad place. When I went into the wilderness of Wabakimi last summer I expected to find nothing but nature in all of its pristine beauty. True, I found that beauty, but I also found a mountain of garbage that it turned my stomach. We cannot let it happen without a fight, and you are right in bringing it to our attention. Hi to Norma.




    October 9, 2013 at 8:45 PM

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