Wednesday, October 28, 2009 9:08 AM EDT
If Ben Davenport and Chatham Town Council are so concerned about the appearance of Chatham and how it is perceived by visitors to the town, it seems only logical that they would be more concerned about the potential uranium mine and mill that Virginia Uranium Inc. and its Canadian partners are planning rather than getting themselves into a sweat over a couple of dilapidated buildings.
It seems odd that Mr. Davenport, the driving force behind this "eyesore" cleanup campaign, has to this point remained completely silent about the issue of uranium mining and milling, and yet he describes an abandoned building as "a real shame."
The real shame will occur when the blasting begins at Coles Hill and Chatham becomes known as the most radioactive place on the East Coast.
It is also telling that Virginia Tech would be willing to provide "planning support" for the sanitizing of Chatham when they are at the same time planning massive support for VUI's toxic adventure which will take place a mere six miles from the center of town.
If the town cannot afford to remove an old mobile home from Whitehead Street, how do they think they will be able to pay for cleaning up 30 or 40 years of a uranium mine spewing poison onto its streets and rooftops?
They can plant all the flowerbeds they want, but if uranium mining becomes a reality for Pittsylvania County, all the flowers in the world will not attract anyone to Chatham, with the exception of the unemployed uranium miners from other states who will descend on the town.
Rather than panicking about the mouse running across the floor, Davenport and the town council would be wiser to make a plan about the thousand-pound gorilla sitting in the room with them.
Which one poses the greater threat?
Jesse Pyrant Andrews