Nothing seems to arouse passions more than when somebody decides to build something in what you consider as your backyard. There are those who will sometimes carry their protests beyond what is law-abiding. NIMBY’s we have known have been known to riot.
But the real problem with NIMBY’s is that they can sometimes get in the way of progress that is of benefit to the rest of their community. This can cause a counter reaction to nimbyism that can raise temperatures and trouble for a community.
Take the current argument in Bala, Ontario. Bala is a jewel of the Muskoka’s. It is where on warm summer weekends, we young guys used to clamber into the sharpest convertible one of us was driving and troll for nubile females. Some of the ladies with large purses were also invited to join us at Gerry Dunn’s Pavilion in the evening. You needed someone to sneak your bottle of Canadian Club rye past the vigilant provincial police.
And for scenic beauty in the area, it is hard to beat Bala Falls. It is where water from the Moon River empties into Lake Muskoka. There is enough of a drop at the Falls that at one time there was a small hydro-electric generating station there. The generating station became redundant when Ontario Hydro said that big was better and opted to go with nuclear energy.
Since what goes around really does go around and we realized small was better, there is now a company building another hydro generating station at Bala Falls. And that has brought out the NIMBYs. Since they can hardly object to the old generating station being replaced, the NIMBYs are complaining that the new generating station will block an historic portage around the falls. Nobody seems to know how many people are foolhardy enough to try to do a very dangerous portage there today or need to when it is easier and safer to do it by road.
Not surprisingly, it is property owners within sight of the falls who are screaming the loudest. They remind us of the people in Mississauga and Oakville who objected to the gas-fired generating plants for those communities. They were quite pleased to waste many millions of taxpayers’ money to get those plants out of their backyard. They had no idea what those plants would look like or how they would blend in with the surroundings.
And is it any wonder that people have less and less tolerance for NIMBYs today?
Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry
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