I would like to start today’s post by extending our deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones of the young man who tragically lost his life this weekend. The community mourns with you at this difficult time.
The warnings were there. Our public safety officials went above and beyond the call of duty in warning local residents of the dangers of swimming in the Barrhaven Quarry. And their warnings, tragically, were justified. This isn’t the first time we’ve loss a local youth in such circumstances, and unfortunately, as long as the quarries offer the promise of a refreshing swim on a warm summer day, it may not be the last.
I’m not aware of the specific details of what led to this tragedy. We will let the authorities conduct a thorough investigation. But we’ve all been teenagers and youths, and we’ve all made some questionable judgement calls at some point in our lives. Today is not about laying blame or pointing fingers. It’s about reaching out to those who’ve lost a loved one and trying to understand what led to this terrible accident.
For many local youths, the quarry is an irresistible escape from everyday suburbia, a lush oasis that’s just a short hop and skip away from home. Yes, it’s private property, but for some youth, that clandestine element simply adds to its mystique. I remember as a youth sneaking onto a golf course late some evenings to go fishing in its ponds. The fishing was great, but knowing we were doing something somewhat clandestine under the cover of darkness just added to the sense of excitement. This might help explain why the quarry is such an attraction to our youth. They are drawn not only because it’s a great place to swim, but also because it has an element of excitement and danger.
There is of course only one solution to this problem. As with the quarry which tragically took the life of another youth years ago along highway 416, this quarry must also be filled to an extent where it can no longer be used as a swimming venue. I know that may not be a popular solution with some of our youth, and I understand their point of view. But this is about the greater good; what’s best for present and future generations. Other solutions, such as fencing the quarry, would quickly be defeated by resourceful teenagers. As long as the water is present, it will attract swimmers.
A young man lost his life. His only crime was seeking to cool off on a hot summer day. As a result, a family and community mourns. Let’s all reach out and help our community heal, and lets take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.