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Today is Monday, October 14, 2019

ED19...coming to a big screen near you


Week-one of my "no television and internet after work hours" Lenten challenge has left me wondering if perhaps I should have thought this through a bit longer. It's not that I miscalculated my dependence on life in front of the screen so much as I underestimated the length of a day between quitting time and bedtime. On a brighter note, the list of unfinished jobs around the house is rabidly declining. And of course I still have life to entertain and engage me.
Take the ongoing ED19 debacle for instance. I'm still not sure if this story unfolding on the real-life screen should be considered a drama or a comedy...or an inspirational documentary.
One can only assume that the United Counties of Leeds Grenville brain trust are surprised, (to say the least) and concerned, with the emergence of the Citizens Against the Dump (CAD) alliance. While it has to be assumed that the county knew there would be pushback against turning a natural green space into a good-old-fashioned dump, I doubt very much they would have ever imagined the formation of an entity as well lead, and well organized, as the CAD group.
The county is trying to sell the public on the validity of this deal, one hinged on the strength of an unprecedented 20-year-old Certificate of Assessment that has even the folks who issued it wondering, against a group led by next-generation leaders like Michael Barrett, Karie Smail and Kyle Johnston. That has got to be a bit more intimidating than the backlash from a handful of unorganized and disgruntled homeowners they presumably expected.
The greatest irony of all in this saga is the fact the county's apparent next move is to take the stance that the problem is rooted in a lack of communication...and that all can be resolved once the public understands the facts.
Do they honestly believe that? We live in an era built on ongoing information sharing. This is the generation that perfected social communications. The smart money would bet that John Q. Public has a pretty decent grasp on what is going down here.
The reality is that, in a mere two weeks, CAD has communicated this situation to thousands of people, peaked media interest throughout Eastern Ontario and alerted every environmental body or board available to them. They were able to seamlessly impart a venue change for their first public meeting in a matter of hours. The county has had two decades to communicate with the public....
Yes...it is quite a narrative indeed. And it could get even better. There could be a sequel.
What happens if the county makes the deal with Tomlinson...and then CAD, with litigator, injunctions and environmental gurus in hand, manage to overturn the ancient Certificate of Approval? Where does that leave our unfolding drama? Are Matlock or Ironside available to fight out the ensuing lawsuits? Think that notion has crossed anyone's mind? How is that for popcorn worthy?
This cliffhanger is far from over. Stay tuned folks, or as they say in the business, "Don't touch that dial!"

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