Clara Hughes came to town last Tuesday. I donât get out much, so I'm probably the only person in town who had to look it up, so I won't bore you with the details. But it took six police cars with sirens blazing to escort her and two other cyclists across town to Trinity High School. I've seen Royal motorcades with less and in bigger cities than Cornwall. That's at least three police officers and vehicles with nothing..better..to..do. But these days, it's all about appearances. I have no argument with Clara or her cause, which is mental health. I just wonder if the reception was a bit over the top. They almost outnumbered the other cars on the road!
On a different topic. Our city council began some years back with the environment as it's first priority. I thought I'd take a look at how they're doing.
It began with the geese. Our duly elected have tried all sorts of scare tactics to âencourageâ geese to move away from downtown, using dogs, flapping flags and sound devices that probably scare the rest of us more than the geese. After several years of this, the geese are still there and will be back again this year, seemingly unperturbed by all the fooferah. Maybe we should pave over Lamoureux Park and build condos. Thatâll show em!
Then came beavers and an apparently evil city plan to do them in, saved only by a brave cohort of beaver lovers who spend their every waking moment in Guindon Park playing with the big furry rodents. If you go there when the ice finally melts you'll see that the beavers havenât moved very far. I doubt they even noticed all the attention they drew.
Coyotes followed soon after, marauding around our northern precincts and gobbling up field mice, groundhogs, rabbits and possibly unwary cats and dogs. There were some pretty lethal plans being prepared but someone forgot to read provincial legislation, so at last count, they're still there as well.
Then it was pigeons. Council couldn't really decide if the target was domestic racing pigeons or the wild variety that live downtown, the ones that most of us see at any time. They used big words like histoplasmosis to show they really meant business. They may have used some others that I can't spell. In any event, they voted in tighter new rules for the domestic birds and voiced all manner of empty threats for the feral kind, but the pigeons are still downtown, perhaps growing in number.
The latest focus is trees. At least theyâre stationary, so what can go wrong? Actually, it's not really the trees. It's the bugs in the trees and theyâre a moving feast. If only we could find something to feast on them. Then again, they're Chinese bugs, and not everyone likes Chinese food. Worse yet, theyâve migrated to Canada through the U.S. So, do we boycott Chinese or American goods? Tough decision. The bugs are already here so boycotting anything now won't achieve much, but why destroy a good campaign theme.
We're going to spend some $5 million to deal with them. The Americans use lethal chemicals that aren't approved for use in Canada, yet anyway, so most of our money will go to damage control and replacing dead trees. I doubt the bugs will notice; they're just passing through.
So, efforts to change our local environment haven't really worked out that well. In fact, if council had done nothing at all, Mother Nature probably wouldnât have noticed the difference.
And that's the way I see it.