Friday, February 8, 2013

More ranting on municipal bylaws

Still so angry that I'm just getting silly.  Warning to readers - rant ahead - living the 'rebel' as outlined in the profile :)

There was a long article in the local small-town weekly paper by one of the people looking to pass a bylaw banning landowners from cutting their woodlots - so full of ranting and untruths and just factual errors that I am just disgusted and angry.  I may be obsessing just a titch.  Just makes me boil that urbanites believe they should be dictating how farms should operate - when they have no idea about any of the facts.  They are so far away from their food production they can't tell you what animal provides their milk or their eggs.

There is a motion before our municipal council coming up next week that will enforce a moratorium on clearing any woodlots or woodlands, for six months, while the administration studies the issue and conducts stakeholder consultations.  This temporary moratorium carries a $100,000 fine for any activity that could be interpreted as clearing wood.  There is no compensation or any other consideration for the loss of being able to manage our own property.  One of my favourite quotes on the issue:  "expropriation without compensation is theft".

The proponents of the bylaw claim environmental concerns are driving this.  But behind that are some pretty typical urban concerns about farming in general.  

Such as lamenting the loss of the family farm to 'industrial' operations and 'foreign investors'.  Hellooooo - the 'family farm' disappeared more than a generation ago.  The majority of small farms operating are supported by the primary operators working full-time off-farm.  Farm operations had to expand to become profitable and sustainable.  To feed and fuel the world.  They use big equipment and cultivation processes to maximize the yield and minimize input costs, while preserving and protecting the integrity and productivity of the raw resource - the land - for the long term.  Just like it was a 'business'- in business to operate over the long term. 

Such as farm operations today contributing to pollution, run-off, not respecting the land like the previous generations did.  What??? Obviously good stewardship is one of the primary drivers of a well-run farm operation.  Just like maintenance at a factory is recognized as good practice to keep the lines running.  Successful farm operators understand the whole picture of how the cropping and livestock management works, and are the last ones to run amok - because they have invested not only their money but are fully immersed in the operation - they are in it for the long run and will not jeopardize their entire operation and family.  They live where they work, the whole family works. It's a totally invested immersion into the operation. Do you know how many family dinners we have had where there was no discussion of farming?  ZERO.

Such as not understanding that crop canopy such as corn, actually sequesters carbon as efficiently as woodlots.  The greenery of the crops scrub the air just as trees do.

And then there is the prospect of handing control of my property over to municipal management.  The same people who have bylaws in neighbourhoods in town banning tree planting - only shrubs are allowed.  The same people who can't grade our gravel road properly and at least quarterly let it get so washboard-y that you can't drive it safely more than 50 km/hr.  The same people who expropriate productive farmland to build shopping malls and new subdivisions.  The same people who build 'business parks' from productive farmland that sit empty for 10 years now.  Yah, I really want these people managing and controlling anything I own.  

Just to throw in another aspect, we live beside a farm that was donated to the Nature Conservancy a few years ago.  This farm is 100 acres, and 50 years ago when my dad did the job of clearing the front 50 acres was not a 'wetland'.  The Conservancy has now decided to return the land to nature and set it up as a 'wetland'.  The first thing they did was build a berm (of sand!) and cut off the tile drains.    They brought in a bunch of dozers and created little hillocks, and planted grasses and trees.  Yes, this definitely has brought lots of wildlife back.  And really, I don't really object to their process - they bought the land, they can operate it how they want.  That drainage thing just meant we had to invest about $100,000 to retile our adjoining property. 

I also hear from the people promoting the bylaw, that they somehow are owed the right to drive throughout the countryside and enjoy the forests and glades and brooks.  

So ... my mind just gets away from me.  If these people are serious about wanting to improve the environment footprint in the municipality, here are a few bylaws that I should propose:
- all persons living within 2 km of a business or school shall be banned from driving or riding in a motorized vehicle between their home and business/school.  This would also be very beneficial in improving the health of the citizenry.  
- all shutters and other outer window/door treatments shall be lime-green.  I love lime-green - it's the 'new neutral'.  I love how lime-green looks on everything, it just refreshes me and makes me feel good.  And think of the tourism twist that this could be used for - 'Visit the greenest town in Ontario!'
- all home-owners must allow open access to their main bathroom, at any time, to everyone.  This will ensure that anyone needing to freshen up is freely able to do so at their convenience.  These rooms will be painted lime-green (see above bylaw) and all consumables will be kept well-stocked, at the home-owners expense.  These rooms will be maintained in pristine cleanliness, at the home-owner's expense, to ensure a positive experience by the visitors stopping by to use the facilities.  (You really would not believe what some people believe they have the right to do in someone else's woodlot!)
- ban on individual-serving everything and 'instant' everything.  The packaging and chemicals added to our food is a disgrace.  People don't know how to cook a carrot.  People have no idea that milk comes from a cow - some of my kids' schoolmates refused to drink milk after a field trip where they saw cows being milked!  All food products will be sold in bulk only, or packaged for a minimum of 10 servings.  All products sold as food-grade products, will be required to provide at least 10% of the recommended daily allowance for a minimum of 4 vitamins or minerals.

I have to stop now, I'm about to pop my cork.  I'm going to go have a nice glass of milk :)


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