The keyway

It usually happens at the most inopportune time.

Often, snow is falling or daylight is fading. After a solid pull on the chain that opens the driveshed garage door a tinkle can be heard as a little keyway drops out of place and lands on the floor.

The air turns blue for a moment and not just from a diesel tractor warming up. It’s time to grab the ladder and climb up 16 feet to tap the little piece of steel back in place so gears can turn and the door can open. First world problems for sure, but a great example of how something so small can be so critical. Nothing works without it.

We have been watching the antics of the provincial Conservatives in recent weeks and fielding questions from concerned voters. That mix of voters includes not only the usual suspects, but also a growing number of loyal Conservative supporters who can’t understand Premier Doug Ford’s disdain for local democracy. This tells us, something is happening in the countryside when generally docile citizens are waking up, reacting and with some semblance of unity on the subject.

Letter writers this week and recently have spelled out many of the concerns with Bill 23 – the More Homes Built Faster Act 2022. This is ramming through legislation that inhibits the ability of planners and engineers to insist on quality projects, to ensure thoughtful planned development. 

A tweak or better timelines of service are one thing, but this approach basically lets developers maximize profits and exit the scene knowing residents will be on the hook for deficiencies down the road. Disabling the mechanisms meant to protect the environment, ensure sustainability and account for future growth is short-sighted in the extreme. Ford yanked the keyway on development.

Those plugged in to the current state of affairs understand many systems – whether it be development-related, health care, education or a cadre of other provincial institutions – are not working. 

More Homes Built Faster in its rawest form will compound problems associated with systems that are already overwhelmed. Need assistance locally, need a doctor – those lines are going to get longer, thanks to more homes faster.

Yes, we need to build more homes, but they need to be in the right places. 

Then we have Bill 39 – the Better Municipal Governance Act, which expands strong mayor powers decried here in the past, but also makes it legal for the province to appoint regional chairs in Niagara, Peel and York. Historically, those Regions made their choice amongst councillors elected locally by residents. Under the new system, the province has dibs on who they think would best represent its interests locally.

To avoid a similar fate, the County of Wellington should consider a well-penned resolution decrying the practice. Bullies generally relent when confronted, as was the case with use of the notwithstanding clause against strikers. Democracy can ill afford skipping a cog for expediency.

Take a stand, make the point.

Mr. Walsh

Arthur and surrounding communities were saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. John Walsh.

A tribute appears in the Advertiser this week, honouring a lifetime of service to his family, community and country. His story spans almost a century of goodwill towards others, which we hope serves as an inspiration to all interested in making the world around them a better place for all.

He will be deeply missed.