a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both
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Sinkhole Of Common Sense

This past summer we experienced about five weeks with no appreciable rainfall at all. It was a drought that has devastated some crops and which caused two mini-forest fires within city limits. Both fires were contained fortunately but there was a significant amount of damage and threat to surrounding residential neighbourhoods.

The city’s first responders, in particular its fire department, did a solid job and are to be commended for their efforts. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could say the same about the bureaucracies behind them?
We can’t.

It took the first fire which went on for a couple of weeks to make the bureaucracy realize that it should be cutting the grass in its parks down to the bone. The grass had turned to straw which could be set afire with a carelessly tossed cigarette and that could easily spread to trees and other foliage also dry and almost like tinder.

Fortunately, the city did finally realize the danger and it did cut the grass down to the bone. Unfortunately, other levels of government that also own and maintain parkland within Canada’s capital did not.

They were bound by legislation to protect nesting water fowl rather than being bound by common sense.
Daily, during the drought, we would drive along the river through parkland where grass that was dryer than kindling, stood two feet high and not just out in the open. It bordered trees and small thickets, homes and businesses.

This is environmentalism gone mad.

I’m all in favour of protecting nature but when it is at the expense of protecting people, I part company with my friends in the environmental movement. What amazes me about the decision to wait until the nesting season was over to protect birds was the thought that if the nesting area caught fire and burned to a crisp, what would all those birds do then?

Given a choice, do you think the birds would prefer a closely trimmed, inconvenient environment for a month or two or no environment for years thanks to devastation by fire?

Nobody who makes the decisions about these things asked themselves those simple questions. They are bureaucrats and they are paid to implement legislation. They are not paid to think.

Last week, a sink hole emerged on a main route out of the city core into its large suburban east community. One unfortunate fellow drove into the hole but was unhurt fortunately. The same can’t be said about his car which seems to have pretty much disappeared.

Apparently a very large pipe that is part of the sewer system broke and that caused the sinkhole. The city had applied back in April for emergency repair to the pipe although they are now saying there wasn’t really an emergency.

It appears the city was denied the permit by another level of government that is tasked with protecting the fresh water fishery. The repair work the city wanted to undertake would be right in the middle of spawning season for various fish species and we can’t permit that, no matter how much damage and expense that decision may subsequently cause.

The river is huge and extends for miles, disrupting the spawning season in one small section would have had very limited, if any, impact on the river’s overall fishery. The decision, however, has had a major impact on people.

Traffic in and out of the east end of the city is virtually in gridlock. The cost to the city for repairs is significantly higher than it would have been six months ago before the pipe burst and in terms of additional transit resources it is now using to try and expedite getting people in and out of the community.
Here’s what I don’t get.

What if someone had been killed as a result of this decision? It is more than conceivable that the person who drove his car into the sinkhole could have been seriously injured if not killed. What if it had been a family with small children? How important would the environmental movement think those bloody fish were then?

The simple fact is that we have become so narrow in our focus these days that we are incapable of seeing beyond the ends of our noses. Nobody makes the connection of the possible outcomes of the decisions they take and virtually nobody in government or NGOs applies common sense. They blindly follow the narrow dictates of their policies and government legislation, only realizing after the fact, that the decision was the wrong decision.


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  • Anonymous

    You’re clever enough to find ooooodles of examples of the same thing in a non-environmental context. Is the problem the tree huggers or the dogma of the political/regulatory system? The problems are with who are making the rules and our inability to rapidly eject a politician that fails to listen to their constituents. And an overall lack of public participation in what’s considered a political mess. There are engineering controls to protect fish during construction, prevent siltation/run-off. At a cost yes, but still a matter engineers can resolve. That brings it down to spending. And we all know they are great at managing that.

    Great points. Think you can keep making them on all sorts of issues.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I’m not sure it takes being all that clever to trip over what is so blatantly obvious but you’re right there are countless examples on all kinds of issues. I already get criticized for writing long posts so I kept it to two examples for this one but I have mentioned others.

      My favourite remains the City Of Montreal spending money to clear snow that wasn’t there from city sidewalks. The plows were plowing concrete. The stupidity and the wastage is unbelievable.

  • karlos

    Thank you, a great post about government “Idiocracy” – We are doomed I tells ya.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      We may not be doomed but we are certainly surrounded by stupidity.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00068077596719584731 dmorris

    “How important would the environmental movement think those bloody fish were then?”

    they would still prefer the fish over humans. They prove that every day with their over the top rhetoric.