Big issues requiring citizen involvement and opinion are right in front of us in Ladysmith and surrounding districts.
The plans for future growth appear boundless. The carrying capacity of our local ecosystem has natural limits. By ignoring, disrespecting or attempting to engineer and bulldoze our way out of these limitations, we and future generations will suffer the consequences environmentally, economically and in reduced quality of life.
As we watch treed hills being denuded for real estate, slopes being graded and retained by huge walls, rocks crushed and scarce top soil removed, we should reflect on how our town is developing and who is profiting from these decisions. Areas advertised as quiet residential areas near the creek are more like quarries, with year-round earth and rock moving activity and noise. Other jurisdictions have much stricter guidelines for steep slope development.
To modify the water supply to meet projected needs, dam building equipment and pipes would need transportation into the watershed. More disruption of the ecosystem would occur. Residential streets would become major thoroughfares for construction vehicles for many years to come if all development plans unfold. Additional policing, fire protection, municipal services and infrastructure mean higher taxes.
While a myriad of graphs and statistical variables have been used to predict the future needs of the town, I feel that it is time to hasten slowly. Statistics can be manipulated to fit a decision or ignored when inconvenient. Maintenance costs are rarely presented.
Developers should not be deciding how, when or if the town grows. The prosperity of our town cannot be measured just in monetary transactions that benefit a few.
Vibrant, supportive community interactions and involvement in what should be our treasured natural setting are what make life rich. More of everything is not always better.