All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Monday, November 23rd, 2020

The whole thing is getting out of hand

I’m happy to say that my feeling of loneliness is slipping away, as more people report in – through wellingtontimes.ca, countylive.ca, and verbally. There are people who share my feeling that our lives here in the County are becoming increasingly compressed and oppressed by ever-expanding rules and regulations.
This column is mostly devoted to comments I have received from these sources, and I hope it clarifies a few points I made earlier. Please note that any comments made through these sources may appear in this column, attributed or unattributed, as they have all added their voices to the discussion.
First – and I know you will enjoy this immensely – I need to hang my head in shame.
It looks like I was sandbagged on the tow-ball law reported in the second column. County watchdog Gary Mooney reported on countylive.ca: “I called the OPP detachment re any requirement to remove the tow-ball/trailer hitch from vehicles. The officer laughed as he told me that there is no such requirement. He said that they have been getting quite few calls.”
Through the Times, OPP Sergeant Pete Donahoe wrote: “There is no violation under the Highway Traffic Act for leaving your towing bar and ball on your pick-up when you are not towing. Some municipalities – very dangerous in Mall parking lots I bet – have a bylaw for this, but not here in the County. I know from experience that I take my assembly off when done towing, because I always seem to catch my shin bone when I go around the back of the truck.”
I don’t know how this happened … possibly idle gossip. I had a fairly reliable source, who cited the date and location of the road check, and the fine amount. The fine amount was confirmed by a retired professional truck driver.
My apologies to the OPP. And I don’t have a tow-ball on my truck, so please don’t hurt me.
My next correction – but not a mistake – comes from comments on countylive.ca from former councillor Richard Parks and my colleague Janet Kellough, who both pointed out that County Council also stepped forward to help save the Regent and Mt. Tabor.
This is very true, but when I said ‘We had to save them’, I was not excluding County Council. They are very much a part of the ‘we’. At least I hope they are.
There are quite a few “Us vs. Them” situations popping up on issues which demand consideration by Council, but I still hope that we consider Them to be a part of Us, and vice versa.
My point was that rules, regs, laws, etc. pour down on us like mouldy manna from heaven from the Great Powers That Be, and ALL of us are shouldering the load. County Council is as answerable to this increasing pressure – and as helpless and impotent – as the rest of us.
On my next correction, I did indeed activate the “It’s all in the interest of safety” people, even though I tried to steer them off.
Well, sure it is. I don’t want anyone to be hurt.
But safety is not the issue I presented. It’s the implementation of ‘safety’ that I have a problem with. And also the implementation of Health issues, and bylaw issues, and almost every other issue that invades our homes and workplaces and lives on a daily basis.
Everyone wants to abide by the laws, and we do what we can to do it. But this New Wave of lawmakers, bureaucrats and enforcers – right across the board – comes on us like the Crack of Doomsday.
We’re prepared for: “You need to take care of this right away.” We’re good with that.
But being issued fines, and unexpected permits for simple home repairs, and huge lists of non-compliance problems of any kind, accompanied by staggering bills – well, we’re not good with that.
If you’ve ever had your car repaired, and are presented with a list of ‘things that need to be fixed’, you prioritize.
“So I need $5,000 work on my $1,000 vehicle? What do I need right away?”
If you have a good repair shop (I use Stormy’s), they say: “You need a new muffler, for sure, and you need a headlight replacement and adjustment … the rest can wait.”
Things like O2 sensors (which are recommended to be changed weekly, if not daily, according to the Driver’s Manual, because Nissan makes a pile of money replacing good parts with good parts) move further down the list.
My problem is: Everything Lawed and Bylawed these days has an Urgency that is driving us crazy. Slow down. Prioritize. Let’s take it a bit at a time.
My next problem is with the Law/Bylaw enforcers, who seem to take pleasure in tracking down people who are fixing their ‘back stoop’. They’re fixing it to make it safer for people to walk on, but no-one thinks of that.
“I’m sorry, you can’t make your steps safer unless you pay us a permit fee.”
You see? The whole thing is just spinning out of hand.
If they show up on your property, they will have to find something. And you will pay the price to prove that the something is actually a nothing.
This is not good. For anybody.
Here’s a happy note, before I go ranting off in another direction:
I was pulled over at Carrying Place for speeding (Quinte West police, I think). That’s not the happy part.
I openly admitted I was speeding, and he took my licence and registration.
“When was the last time you had a speeding ticket?” he asked.
“Oh, I would say about five years ago,” I said.
He went back to his cruiser for what I call the ‘sweat-box’ part of the operation, and then came back to my window. He handed me my stuff.
“You’re close. Your last ticket was seven years ago, so I’m going to let you off with a warning.”
“But,” he said, “you are now entered into our computer system and, if you are stopped for speeding again, you’ll get everything that’s coming to you.”
Fair enough. I was surprised, but I understood the rules completely.
This is the way it used to work, here in the County. It shows an even hand in dispensing the law. Sometimes, relief and a reprieve is better than punishment.
But we have an overly-stressed government pouring demands to over-stressed bureaucrats, who pass their stress to the County and everyone else within walking distance, who then pass their stress to us, who are already overly-stressed.
Let’s face it. This is no way to live life.

Filed Under: Steve Campbell

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