Thursday, August 28, 2003

I'm very, very sad about what is happening in Snug Cove right now.

Less than a month ago, for those of you who don't know the story, the entire traffic plan for Snug Cove was arbitrarily changed. One councillor took some initiative (not a bad thing in itself, I might add) to investigate a scheme to load two lanes of traffic on the ferry in the morning and off-load two lanes in the evening. I am still not clear what the motivations for the change were, but whatever they were, they were deep and the plan - which was supposed to be a "trial" - was undertaken in earnest.

What we have now is a whole bunch of lines on the road, handwritten signage, two lanes of traffic parked in the middle of two through lanes and a crosswalk that has been moved to a blind corner with no sidewalk. No one in their right mind can look upon this scene and say "what a nice village." It's neither village nor parking lot, but a grotesque fusion of the two, as if one or the other had suddenly sprung a parasitic twin.

But mostly it's not safe. It feels really dangerous. And here is the sad part.

Someone was finally hit the other day. She wasn't seriously injured but she was mad. She went up to the RCMP station to report it and was informed that actually there was a meeting happening at that very moment at the Municipal Hall and perhaps she could fill Council in on the situation. She went to the Council meeting to plead her case and was told that there was no public input to happen at this meeting. She persisted saying that she had been hit by a car and she wanted to share the story with Council. The reply she got from one female councillor who wasn't the mayor was along the lines of "you were able to make it up here so it couldn't have been that bad."

This is just about as cold a response to human pain as I have ever known on this Island. This is a peaceful place. It is known all over the world as a peaceful place. But this kind of thing is happening more and more. I was yelled at by a ferry marshall on the weekend. There was shouting match in the line up the other day. One councillor, Terry Cotter, bravely wrote that he had personally alomost run over a child twice in the Cove. People have been advised to "hold your kids tightly."

There is something very starange happening with our municipal government. Arbitrary decisions are being made, public process is going out the window, and there is an awful lot going on out of the sight of citizens. There is a veneer of "at least someone is doing something" pasted over the whole mess to deflect criticism.

What I would like is if our Councillors stood up and each stated their positions clearly on the Snug Cove traffic situation. I want to know who is happy with the situation and who is not. I want opinions to be transparent and positions and motivations laid out clearly. And I will use those statments to inform my vote.

In the meantime, I pray to God that no one gets seriously injured, that there are no fist fights between citizens and that no one goes out of business in the Cove.

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