As most readers have probably heard by now, Saskatoon’s been struggling with a bit of a crisis lately with an unstable riverbank that’s threatening a number of homes in the Nutana area. The instability’s been linked to above average precipitation in the city over the last few years that’s elevated the water table, although really it’s just a natural part of water and soil dynamics in a major river like the South Saskatchewan.
In a June 23 Star-Phoenix report, that point was made by Saskatoon’s general manager of infrastructure services Mike Gutek. Here’s a link to the article here.
Another story that’s been making headlines in Saskatoon in the last while concerns a complaint Ashu Solo has made with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission after he attended a city-sponsored dinner to thank local volunteers that city counsellor Randy Donauer opened with a Christian prayer. Here’s a link to a Planet S story about the controversy in which Solo argues that a prayer like that at a secular civic gathering violates “the separation of religion and government.”
Now back to the riverbank story. When I read the Star-Phoenix article, a couple of quotes from Gutek jumped out. The first is from mid-way through the article, while the second is at the end.
“It’s inherent in the natural geology of the area. It’s a dynamic situation. Nothing is ever the same. We have what God gave us for the dirt. We have our weather conditions. We have man-made construction. It all goes together and it’s a combination of things.”
“The slope is the same as the day God gave it to us,” he said. “ … It’s an inherent reality of the South Saskatchewan riverbank.”
I’m not sure if Gutek was speaking metaphorically. At another point in the article he mentions “Mother Nature” which could be taken as a euphemism for the geological and meteorological forces that are currently at work. But it does seem odd that a city official would so directly invoke the name of God at a press conference. Unless Gutik actually is a Creationist who believes that God literally did create the riverbank. In which case, I’d be kind of worried if I lived in Nutana.