1. #1
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    Go figure eh? (throws hands in air)

    The bridge bits that go nowhere

    By Jack Knox, Times Colonist September 12,

    The bridge sections float in Cowichan Bay like four giant pieces of God's own Meccano set, a testament to confusion and, it is argued, what happens when government pokes its own eyes out.

    "We've realized what can happen when nobody is looking after things," Carol Hartwig says.

    Hartwig is one of the residents who rose up in protest after the bridge bits appeared in Cowichan Bay in May, towed from Washington state by a company that wanted to break them apart and sell the pontoons.

    The company isn't thrilled, either. It thought it had jumped through all the right regulatory hoops, only to find that it wasn't allowed to do the demolition work. So now the bridge sections sit, waiting to be sold and moved to who knows where.

    But let's back up. This tale goes back to the decision to replace the aging Hood Canal bridge linking the Olympic Peninsula to the Puget Sound area. The eastern portion of the structure 1,000 metres long, still with marked lanes, lamp standards, railings, even traffic signs was bought by Seagate Pontoons. The plan was to tow the sections 80 nautical miles to Cowichan Bay, bust up the concrete and rebar, barge the debris away for recycling as metal and aggregate, then sell the concrete pontoons for use as marinas, breakwaters, industrial decks, something like that.

    In 2008, company representatives met with the Cowichan estuary environmental management committee, which had representatives from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the provincial Environment Ministry, local First Nations and the Cowichan Valley Regional District. Satisfied that all was in order, Seagate moved ahead with its plans.

    But alarm bells went off when tugboats dragged the bridge to Cowichan Bay's WestCan Terminal in May. Surprised residents, fearing five months of noise, dust and damage to an already embattled ecosystem, took to the barricades.

    The regional district then weighed in, said the demolition work would be contrary to zoning. This came as news to the bridge owners, who thought the province had jurisdiction. "It was our understanding, based on our due diligence, that we could do the work there," says Mike Cronquist of Marker Development, Seagate's Victoria-based project management company. Nope, it turned out the CVRD is one of those local governments that has exercised its option to zone the surface of the water, and zoning says the bridge sections may be moored, but not broken apart.

    So the plan now is to keep the bridge sections in the bay over the winter, when the weather makes moving them a dodgy proposition, and sell them in the spring. "We are working with a bunch of interested parties," Cronquist says.

    It's not wholly startling that there should be confusion when it comes to who rules the water. From derelict boats and barges around the Island, to mega-yacht moorage off the Songhees, to the tale of a dead cow washed up at Clover Point, there's no shortage of stories of jurisdictional ping pong.

    Nor is it surprising that after dispensing with so many of its wilderness watchdogs, government sees stuff slip through the cracks. Some feel the Cowichan Bay fuss happened because overstretched authorities didn't pay enough attention to the proposal until prodded by the public. Hartwig's husband, Ray Demarchi, who retired as B.C.'s chief wildlife officer in 1997, points to cuts to the Canadian Wildlife Service, DFO and the Environment Ministry, the latter having been gutted first by the NDP, then the Liberals. The sad truth is that government often ceases to exist once you get 50 metres beyond the pavement, a lack of boots on the ground leading to a free-for-all on the water and in the woods.

    The good news, Hartwig says, is that the bridge issue has galvanized residents worried about threats to the fragile estuary everything from septic seepage and shellfish pollution to Western Forest Products' bid to double the size of its log channel and a worry that the bridge encroaches upon a conservation area.

    The moral of the story is that it's not good enough to blindly trust that government is doing its job. When there's no more watchdog, best keep your eyes open yourself.

    Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

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    Talking Yeah, Well.....................

    What in the help were these guys thinking??..... EVERYBODY knows that stuff like this goes to New Jersey............
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    By CBC News, cbc.ca, Updated: September 13, 2009 1:15 PM

    Anthem policy for N.S. schools proposed

    The Nova Scotia government has asked school boards to ensure the national anthem is either played or sung every day in every school.

    The issue of singing O Canada in schools sparked a countrywide uproar earlier this year when a principal in Springfield, N.B., decided to reserve the anthem for monthly assemblies.

    Erik Millett, the former principal of Belleisle Elementary School, made the decision after two families complained on religious grounds.

    Millett received death threats and became the centre of a national controversy.

    Nova Scotia likely wants to avoid a similar situation, said David Cameron, a member of the Halifax Regional School Board.

    "The impetus was simply that there should be a policy that it's not fair to leave it to individual schools and be subject to parental pressure and so on, either way," he said.

    "So there should just be a standard practice applicable across the board."

    Cameron said he supports the province's request for boards to implement a policy and believes others will, too. "I think it's just a general ... feeling amongst a lot of Canadians that, you know, this is something that we ought to be proud of, not hide it."

    The Department of Education has also proposed that students be exempted from singing the anthem if they have a letter from a parent.

    In response to the province's request, the Halifax school board is scheduled to debate a draft anthem policy on Sept. 23. Board chair Irvine Carvery said he doesn't expect much resistance around the table.

    In June, the New Brunswick government passed a regulation requiring all schools in the province to play O Canada at the start of the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    By CBC News, cbc.ca, Updated: September 13, 2009 1:15 PM

    The issue of singing O Canada in schools sparked a countrywide uproar earlier this year when a principal in Springfield, N.B., decided to reserve the anthem
    Cameron said he supports the province's request for boards to implement a policy and believes others will, too. "I think it's just a general ... feeling amongst a lot of Canadians that, you know, this is something that we ought to be proud of, not hide it."
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    Unfortunately, it sounds like what has happened in so many U.S. schools when it comes to the Pledge of Allegiance. What is so wrong about showing some national pride?

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    Quote Originally Posted by firecat1 View Post
    Unfortunately, it sounds like what has happened in so many U.S. schools when it comes to the Pledge of Allegiance. What is so wrong about showing some national pride?
    The only problem is that all to often routine and empty symbolic gestures replace any actual pride that might be associated with the actions.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusKspn View Post
    The only problem is that all to often routine and empty symbolic gestures replace any actual pride that might be associated with the actions.
    Or for the dedicated leftist, pride is only in a new doobie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusKspn View Post
    The only problem is that all to often routine and empty symbolic gestures replace any actual pride that might be associated with the actions.
    Too true.

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