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Rural living calls for better planning, public input

George House guides his speed dory among sunkers as his friend, Jonathon Ricketts, repositions warning buoys nearer the end of the rocky, manmade outcropping to make boaters safely aware of the danger in their approach to the landwash on Blanchard's Cove in McIvers.
George House guides his speed dory among sunkers as his friend, Jonathon Ricketts, repositions warning buoys nearer the end of the rocky, manmade outcropping to make boaters safely aware of the danger in their approach to the landwash on Blanchard's Cove in McIvers. - Dave White photo

Opinions, like some other things, are not hard to come by. Everybody has at least one. But, like those other things including this column, many jobs remain incomplete until the paper work is done, one reader attests.

That’s where George House comes from, and even as the McIvers silviculture labourer is inclined to share his opinion on almost any topic, he holds no aversions toward policymakers, nor is he himself adverse to stepping up to do what needs doing, when he can. Hence, he feels additionally compelled to speak up to get the word out about resident matters of concern.

At 56 years old, House claims he has seen enough and done enough to know that things are not always thought through, nor given a public ear as they ought be. As such, he purports that rural lifestyles, rural living and rural communities stand to be shortchanged in the disregard shown the people who most stand to be negatively affected by the decisions of powers that be.

Among House’s pet peeves is a willingness of people to accept decisions that he says often run contrary to common sense, leaving themselves to cope unnecessarily harder with change they could have otherwise positively affected beforehand.

Locally, public safety audits are one thing he views as needing greater attention, and he has made it a personal mission to conduct his own inspections around McIvers, even going as far as correcting deficiencies he has identified in his old hometown.

Meanwhile, he also draws attention to other problems beyond his control, except for sharing an opinion or two.

For now, it will probably be next spring before many will notice the warning buoys he and a friend recently anchored off Blanchard’s Cove to steer fishers and pleasure boaters safely clear of man-made sunkers which bury sewage outfall lines on the waterfront there. The rocky ledge is seen to protrude more than 20 metres into the eastern end of the McIvers Island tickle at ebb tide, yet become a real hazard as the huge armour stone sits invisibly just below the surface during high water times.

Also, the same sewer installation completed about four years ago causes concern regarding an open drainage outflow ditch off Wharf Road that poses a real threat to people walking in the area and to vehicles which frequent the cove.

House identifies another menacing presence in a light pole which stands a mere metre off the paved eastbound shoulder of the North Shore Highway in McIvers. Suggesting reflective flag tape to alert drivers during the slippery conditions just ahead, House admits it is somewhat surprising that no one has hit the dangerous upright during the many years it has been there. A telephone call to the utility service provider responsible is seen as the logical next step in making that winding section of road safer for travellers through the area.

Watershed road wood

Meanwhile, House notes that a planned new McIvers watershed service road is drawing some consternation among area residents who feel the project may be allowed to progress next year without fullest public consultation.

Pending environmental assessments, House says there should be further public discussion on the project. There is concern, he claims, that a large tract of timber on the proposed route will be plowed under by heavy machinery when it could be harvested by area residents as fuelwood or sawlogs. The potential waste could be mitigated and costs savings realized by the community were interested residents invited to cut and haul away the wood for their own use, he says.

Dave White welcomes your Bay of Islands news and events information at 660-5712, or email at: bayofislands2008@gmail.com.

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