Some camel

In the end it was disappointing to all involved.

A committee of really awesome people, talented and thoughtful had just one task – it was to design a horse. In the end they came up with what looked like a camel.

That old maxim has been around for a long time and explains in part the disappointing outcomes that befall organizations and big picture pursuits, ever since civilization began to organize on a larger scale.

Competing interests, biases, favours owed – it all feeds into a narrative of eventual underachievement and conclusions that are less than ideal.

Take for example the current conversations surrounding planning and traffic.

For decades now municipalities have been forced to take their share of population growth as projected by the province. Along with that challenge many communities have been left to their own devices as it relates to planning, styles and community building. With all of those levers, best guesses and responsibilities there are few opportunities to put a lid on development or secure the very best of a community’s long-term interest.

Take a drive through larger subdivisions and see the houses cheek to jowl, with little in the way of design or options to accommodate various family sizes and demographics. To us, the townships should have far more opportunity to help plan a community, as opposed to reacting to what developers present.

Along with clearly inadequate housing types, consider the coming and going of those resident commuters forced to spill out onto a road system spawned decades ago. Roads and infrastructure decisions tend to follow development rather than precede it. Too much time is spent reacting to poor choices that should have been fleshed out in a larger context initially.

And what of farmland and greenspaces? This push for growth almost always infringes on agriculture whether it be capturing land on the outside of town to make up for poor planning in-town or using virgin farmland to avoid dealing with brownfield sites.

How about developer over-reach, where natural and built heritage are incorporated (often free of charge) into a larger development plan? The same can be said for a community’s desire to protect water resources. Everything seems free until it isn’t.

As communities here and elsewhere grapple with a planning system that seems to favour developers, the public can count on more camels in the future.