West Grey II

Oh. What a tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to deceive. These way back words, written by (I believe) Sir Walter Scott, under poetic licence, well previous to learning in my junior years at school, flashed back to my memory when I recently heard the results of the indecisions faced by West Grey municipal councillors.

For their confusion I can feel nothing but pity. Voting against, when the bylaw enforcers said there was nothing wrong with what was already being done, and had repeatedly advised accordingly, leaves an unnecessary confusion that literally escapes explanation, reason and understanding.

The quandary of their decision, obviously a wrong one, in these times of mega recession, has created among the young and restless of their community a situation that is certainly not going to go away. There is little rhyme or reason in pitting youth against the elderly and snatching the creation of jobs away from those in need. It is a situation that just should not happen in a world that is about to experience the hardest of hard times.

An email of appreciation, from a reader who I personally do not know, referring to my previous West Grey I, sums it up in a nutshell, in simple words that could be no better said by anyone. It goes exactly like this:

“I picked up the local paper at the Teviotdale truck stop and had the opportunity to read your interesting article. It was so well done I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. Too bad that there are so many people out there with miserable lives that want everyone else to be just as miserable. Perhaps the young men should picket the downtown, saying they would rather be dirt biking but now they have nowhere to go.”

While the teens and those with young families suffer the running sores of bureaucratic injustices, the least of which was holding the planning advisory committee meeting in mid-afternoon, when near all those in favour were working. And those who managed to make an appearance were goaded by untruths showered on them by an aging and unseeing small segment of the population who seem to feel their low purchase-priced property will no doubt not double, triple or quadruple in price if a well-run dirt bike track is located within 20 miles of their residency.

Wake up, people. Wake up to reality. The site is professionally designed, well back from the road on steep, sloping, rolling sand and gravel knolls that is certainly not arable farmland. Would you rather have a gravel pit? The four stipulated rally weekends requested, widespread over spring, summer and fall, will be well accented by the jobs created for local youth. To say nothing about the spin-off to local business that the ever increasing number of visitors who are drawn as spectators to these rallies will bring to the community. People need to buy gas, people need to eat. They need accommodation, and firewood for those who camp could be a lucrative source of pocket money for anyone not lacking ambition.

This farm, though discouragingly littered with rubble and disrepair, with a house in need of a new roof and a huge barn ready to tumble with the next strong wind, was not bought lacking foresight. With less than half of its acreage tillable since horse-drawn equipment became obsolete, a home industry was seen to be necessary. On touring the area on a couple of weekends, and having two teenage sons interested in the sport of dirt biking, an off-road vehicle repair shop seemed a practical route to take.

The ace in the hole that clinched their buying decision was that the house was set well back from each road on a corner lot with long lanes to each for entrance and exit, and there was a small recently constructed horse barn that could be insulated and expensively altered to make the proposed repair shop. My own personal enchantment of their planning was the possibility of enabling my grandsons, post- to grade school education, to finance tuition in whatever field of education they chose, without the humongous burden of student loans.

During their three years of ownership, the property was cleaned of rubble and was well landscaped. The large, old, unused barn rebraced, many supports replaced, the roof fixed and the aging siding replaced, with the skilled help of the Mennonites. The smaller barn, transformed into a well-windowed repair and supply shop, with heated cement floor and insulated walls, was up and operating for over a year.

When asking the logistics of permission to hold four rallies on the exercise track to advertise and promote their repair shop, they were told it would be better if they requested, after the fact, a zone variance for their up-and-running repair shop. Though they were originally told it was definitely not necessary. Now, at the time of this writing, while the youth of the area await clarification, the sleepy, head-scratching council flounder in the bureaucratic art of foot dragging.  Would you believe it? They can’t decide whether the shop is now legal or not.

In the meantime, folks, on July 25, from 8am to 1pm, I’m going to be in that general area. Elfreda Featherstone has invited Pat Mestern and me to present our books on Author’s Day at the Flesherton Farmer’s Market. See you there. Take care, ‘cause we care.                      




Barrie Hopkins