"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Riddle Me THis":
Evelyn:A few quick questions about the 'policy' that requires Industrial Parkway to have sidewalks on both sides.

When and how was this policy approved, by whom, and what is the rationale?
Policy can be changed by legislative vote. At one time Canada practiced capital punishment and then, by an act of Parliament, abolished it.
Surely a 'sidewalks policy' can be changed.Is the September 25 Open House going to be all day or only between certain hours? Will there be someone there to explain and answer questions? Someone qualified to do so.
It seems to me that this 'policy' is without merit south of Wellington, and with questionable merit to the north.
A policy is a  guideline intended to ensure consistency in decision-making. Sometimes it spells out requirements already in government regulations. Like spending policies.
There's a policy for Council/staff relationship.
For example, no Councillor can direct staff to do anything. 
Staff direction must come from a majority decision of Council.
That policy is not being adhered to right now. 
Staff are as much responsible as  Council members. 
The sidewalk policy was updated in the last term. 
Many fifty year old roads  were built to rural standards; no sidewalks, drainage by ditch and culvert. 
Re-construction was to urban standards. With storm drainage, sidewalks on one side and boulevards for snow storage; depending on width. 
It  meant sidewalks abutted  property lines and front lawns were substantially reduced.
Many residents were not enamoured. 
The policy was to allow residents ti indicate  preference at the time plans were being prepared.
Invariably what happened was, people opposed to sidewalks shortening their front lawn and driveway turned up at open houses and said so. 
People who weren't paying attention didn't indicate preference until the plans were ready to proceed. Then there would be a kefuffle.
The obvious  requirement for a sidewalk would become evident and  plans would have to be changed. 
In the last term, we cut down a beautiful street tree and shifted the road  and underground services over a few feet to the west to satisfy the demands of a  single resident on the east, Never found out how much that cost. He spent the winter in Florida  and isn't there at all now. 
Anyway,  the policy was adopted to have sidewalks on both sides of streets during the last term. Theory being, people could still have input but first the designs would be for two sidewalks and Council would have to do the Solomon. 
A policy is not cast in stone.
 In a town  this age, many variables have to be accommodated.The Industrial Parkway is one. .
In my judgement, it  needs imagination. . 
Safety and accessibility are  worthwhile  objectives.
The project must be  realistic. 
Sidewalks on both sides  are not. 
I argued  when the  design contract  was awarded.
.But  Council  has been  reluctant to exercise personal  judgement. It  seems easier just to do as they are told.  And.there's safety in numbers.
But that may be changing.
The community is exerting its influence and that helps an elected representative  to understand and have confidence in his role.
We maybe  looking  at ways and means of accomplishing the objective of accessibility without cutting down hundreds of trees and needlessly spending millions of dollars.
It won't save money already spent on consulting fees.God knows that tap is still turned on full.
But there's still time to prevent the greater boon doggle* 

* Wikipedia
 A boondoggle is a project that is considered a useless waste of both time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy motivations


Anonymous said...

"A policy is not cast in stone." ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!

You say: "the policy was adopted to have sidewalks on both sides of streets during the last term."

What "streets" does this policy apply to?

Why does Kennedy Street West not have sidewalks on both sides? It is a residential street. This street is used by hundreds every day who walk, who walk their dogs or their baby carriages, who jog, who ride their bicycles. It is a major walking route for kids going to and coming back from school. It would be far more appropriate to apply the "policy" to this street than to Industrial Parkway.

You say that "Council has been reluctant to exercise personal judgement. It seems easier just to do as they are told."

Told what and by whom?

Are members of Council lacking in grey matter? They sought public office so that they COULD and WOULD exercise personal judgement. Did they all, instead, seek to serve the public by not having to think, to simply act as RUBBER STAMPS for staff?

This is potentially a gross OUTRAGE!

Anonymous said...

The electoral clock is now ticking. A council member has to ask him/herself if she/he wishes a person in an audience to ask if he/she voted to pave all those sidewalks. It is a ' yes ' or 'no' question that does not allow any excuses. Got it wrong once & now there is a chance to put it right.