Glass House Syndrome
Wednesday, Sep 13, 2017 10:43 am
There is an epidemic of Glass House Syndrome across the country and an especially virulent strain has hit here in MD of Foothills and the communities within it.
The condition arises in all of us with activity on our landscapes and is sometimes known as “Not in my backyard.” The removal of timber seems to trigger extreme cases of the condition while there seems to be immunity to other activities even if they have far more permanent and sometimes damaging effects on the landscape.
The metaphor is a reference to the logging on Etherington Creek west of Longview and people’s reaction to this activity on a multi-use, working landscape.
Timber companies are required to do intense broad criteria planning. We all could learn from the rigorous long term planning done by timber companies.
The hypocrisy of opposition to logging is revealed with the facts about annexation for urban development. 1200 acres of agricultural lands will be permanently taken out of production when High River eventually develops all the previously annexed lands as well as the proposed annexation between the Cayley road and Highway 2. 5000 acres will be annexed by Okotoks. Hypocrisy abounds when one considers that the permanent removal of these lands from agricultural production will cover those lands with wooden houses. This removal of lands from productivity in perpetuity is shrugged off as “progress.”
Further hypocrisy is demonstrated with the issue of water demands by this “progress.’ Black Diamond and Turner Valley and Okotoks all have over-taxed the Sheep River’s capacity to supply water for their communities and all of them flush their treated sewer and storm ponds into the river system.
I suspect Longview also empties their sewage treatment pond into the Highwood as well. Annually there are hundreds of subdivision and development applications in the MD of Foothills that, if approved, permanently transform agricultural land to roads and housing and tap the aquifer for water. Where are the logging protesters while this paving of the landscape is happening?
Let’s apply wide criteria and evidence based examination to our footprints, not turning a blind eye on some while focusing on others simply because they offend some people’s sense of aesthetics. Hopefully a more fair and holistic type of treatment will tame this raging case of “Glass House Syndrome” in our backyard.
Ralph and Jacqueline Nelson
MD of Foothills