Sunday, May 22, 2016

You can't hold back progress . . . ?


       I hear this from others but I don't utter it myself.   A pleasant, uncrowded neighbourhood or area, full of leafy trees, fresh air, scurrying squirrels and fuzzy brown rabbits evolves inevitably.   First come the green signs signifying the nature of the development that is to take place.   Somehow, the two acre lot that held a small family home with a surrounding green buffer is going to become the living area to ninety-five townhouses.   Looking at the space, it doesn't seem possible.

        I have ceased to wonder why residential development can speed along with considerable changes from week to week, whereas the building of a new and desperately need elementary school manages to consume three years.   The next stage involves clearing the land, the better to squeeze in the maximum number of housing units.    Although the City has a tree by-law, it can be circumvented depending on the type of tree (some are considered weed trees and are expendable).  A fine or fee can be paid to remove a tree that is deemed to be in the way of construction.    Usually a few trees in an obscure corner are preserved and carefully fenced in, again with orange tape and plastic fencing, all the better to shout, "See developers do care about the Environment." 

         Now come the road or lane closures.   Garish orange cones and flag people with matching vests begin to clutter the landscape surrounding what once was the charming abode.  (It is true that the home may have been run down or even abandoned, the owners now departed with two or more million in their pockets).   I try to seek alternate routes, at first to avoid the traffic delays and later the flat tires from the enormous construction nails that inevitably work their way onto the roadway.  Even the Michelin Man can't keep those from entering my tires.

            Before long the project is complete.   Ninety additional housing units with a couple of hundred extra cars on the surrounding roads and fifty to a hundred school children to be housed in hastily delivered portables at the already full neighbourhood school.   If this was a one-time occurrence adaptation could be made but this is one of dozens of  developments on just one long road.    

                It's called City Planning but it doesn't seem like there's a plan.

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