Some weeks ago, beavers Lily and Lucky moved into a floodwater pond in Stittsville.
The city claimed the beavers posed a serious flood risk and intended to kill them. A group of local activists called for the city to find a humane alternative.
I heard about the whole thing through the Ottawa Animal Defense League’s facebook page, and wrote my obligatory letters to Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Shad Quadri. I received similar responses from both, basically saying “beavers = flood = dead beavers”.
A demonstration was set for yesterday. Even though I’m no longer much of one for protests, and even though I thought there was not a snowball’s chance in hell that this one would make any difference, I decided to go – mostly to support the activists who were trying so hard to save these beavers.
I got there late, and was stunned to discover that I’d just missed the Mayor and Councillor, who announced that plans to kill the beavers were on hold until more humane approaches could be investigated.
I am writing this blog post for a couple of reasons: First, to celebrate the beavers’ hopefully permanent reprieve; Second, to congratulate all the activists who helped make it happen; Third, to applaud our Mayor and Councillor for being responsive to their citizens; Fourth, to inspire everyone out there who does not believe civic engagement can make a difference.
In fact, I’ll note that this is the second time in the last few months that the apparently impenetrable bureaucracy has responded to “my” demands. The other was a call to reopen a fence that had been erected to block bikes and pedestrians from crossing the transitway.
Small things, some might say. But not to the beavers. And maybe not to people like me who keep voting, keep writing, keep hoping that their representatives will listen.