Monday, 24 November 2014

Winds by Susan L.

    It's a rather gray day out there, mild, but dismal looking. The wind is howling around the treetops making them dance and sway. I'm watching the scrawny dead tree in the front yard shudder beneath the gusts. It's only a matter of time until it comes crashing down. I wish the town had come and taken it down like they said they would. I suppose it will take yet another phone call to get them to see it through.
  Come January, I'll begin my campaign to do something about getting the speed limit changed. It's even more important to get it done soon because, over the next five years or so, 3000 new homes will be built in the village just north of me. That means way more traffic on my road. Getting the speed limit reduced would hopefully encourage people to take a different route. There are options.
  It wouldn't hurt to do some research by driving around and seeing where lower speeds are posted and why.
  My concerns are legitimate. There's two narrow bridges that although two cars can squeak past each other most of the time drivers treat them as one lane. It's an unspoken rule to stop and take turns to cross. There's often people fishing from the one that crosses the river a couple houses down from me. Cars park on the roadside to access the conservation area across the road which means there are also pedestrians.
  The current speed limit is 80 km. Cars fly by all the time doing way more than that. I'd be very happy to see it changed to 60 like it often is where there is a cluster of houses. Or if that's not an option, the second best would be to see our strip of road posted as a community safety zone where speed fines are doubled.
  Years ago, I spearheaded a community movement to restrict the size of an intensive agricultural operation run by one of the largest cattle farmers in North America. (He was not pleased or used to being challenged.) The neighbouring 3000 head operation and corn mill was seeking to expand. What began as concerns about smell, lights, traffic and noise soon evolved into very real health, safety and environmental concerns. It took a couple of years for the township to do their research.
  My role was to represent the community in talks with the various government ministries involved. It helped that I was a small scale farmer. In the end, the township instituted bi-laws concerning scale and location specifications for these massive types of operations. Many of the neighbouring townships utilized this information to amend their own bi-laws.
  The town approached me a couple of years after this stating that the farmer wanted to build a commodity shed to house his tractors and other equipment. I mentioned that cattle were commodities too. Both the town and I were familiar with the slippery business methods of this particular big time farmer. The permit wasn't granted.
  Sometimes the little guy's voice is heard. Sometimes there are things worth fighting for.
  "But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One. Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper." Jer 20:11

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