Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A letter to the editor

I wrote the following letter to the editor of our local news paper today. Because I don't know if he will deem it worthy of publication, I've decided to post the contents as a blog to insure that my rant is not at risk of disappearing into the round file. (P.S. Not only was this letter actually published, but it was highlighted and recognized as The News' "Feature letter" of the day) As an additional precaution, I'll hand deliver the actual letter this pm, as we have no snail mail service on Sundays, and I don't have any idea how frequently the News staff checks their e-mail. My letter follows from their lead article in "The News" of June 11, which described a definitely raucous and rowdy public meeting of Nanaimo's Regional District Board and officials, who were attempting to explain the necessity for building permits and building inspections to a few obstreperous rural, electoral area residents who had somehow managed to evade this rather basic form of municipal oversight and virtually universal system of health and safety regulation:

To the Editor, The News.

No permits or inspections, the picket signs read... You've got to be kidding.

Nobody wants new taxes imposed upon them, just witness what is happening with BC's provincial HST fiasco. Likewise, nobody wants to have new laws imposed on them, particularly if there is even a whiff of an odour of a perceived infringement of their personal rights.
No permits, No Inspections. No No No!

Indeed, I spent the latter third of my professional career speaking out against what I and the building and development industries saw as bureaucratic stupidity, completely unnecessary red tape, and money grabbing policies, while advocating for a modicum of common sense in the implementation of both new and old municipal and provincial policies.

But never in a million years would I have objected to the basic concept of building permits and inspections, because I recognize that they are absolutely essential to assuring the safety and health of the public at large. In BC it is still legal for an individual to build his own home, but do you believe that the average Joe has sufficient knowledge to do this safely, and in compliance with the building, plumbing, electrical and fire codes. I've personally witnessed too many serious infractions which belie that thought. The real problem is that some poor unsuspecting soul will inevitably purchase or inherit the problems that result from this lack of oversight, and have to pay through the nose to have them corrected at some future date.

Now don't get me wrong. I despise over-regulation of any industry at any time, or I would not have spent so many years actively fighting against it.

But having no building codes, building permits, building inspections?... Give me a break. Suck it up. Move on. Find something else to resist or complain about that makes at least a more sense. This not the time or place to draw your personal line in the sand.

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