The Fountain Pen, Guelph's On-Line News

New Year, Winter, Travel and a Bridge

Web posted on January 06, 2016

A Curmudgeon's View

By Les Enekes

Welcome to 2016 and Happy New Year. The hangover should be gone by now for those of you who over indulged. You might still be humming Auld Lang Syne and not even realize it. It's back to reality for all of us in one way or another.

So far it looks like it might be a relatively benign winter in these parts. Yes, we did have that inconvenience last week, but, for the time of year it was relatively minor. I am sure that we will get a few reality checks (like our one day cold spell this week) from Mother Nature just to keep us on our toes. If we get what is predicted it will be a nice change after the past couple of nasty winters. Weather forecasting remains an inexact science. The evidence might say nice winter, what actually happens might be different. El Nino can be an unpredictable child at the best of times. We should know by the end of March if they got it right. As we get older the novelty of long cold snowy winters is a thing of the past. Winter is something to tolerate (barely) while waiting for spring and garage sales. Just because I was born here it doesn't mean I have to like it.

This year with our dollar acting more like the peso, going south isn't looking as good as it used to. The airlines have done a wonderful job of discouraging flying with all their creative ways of separating us from our money. Economy class is more like steerage. Even up front isn't what it used to be, at least on the North American carriers. This doesn't even take into account the rest of the hassles of flying these days, not to mention the other potential problems south of the border. I am seeing a whole column devoted to air travel in the future. Many people will either stay home, or cut the length of their stay. Most packages to the Mexico and Caribbean resorts are based on the U.S. dollar. There are still bargains to be had as long as you don't need to use American dollars, the Euro, or the Pound. Peelee Island comes to mind, you can fly there from Windsor when the lake freezes over. Otherwise you will have to look to south of the equator for any good deals.

Moving on to other issues, the Niska Road bridge was a major issue towards the end of last year. It seems that to meet provincial standards we have to have a two lane bridge. A covered or truss bridge seems like a potential solution. The height restriction should be no more than 2.5 metres. Keep the current weight restrictions. Stop lights like in some construction zones could be added making sure that there is only one lane of traffic on the bridge at any given time. Do not widen the road, do not add on street parking. Do not install a traffic light at Downey Road. Do not install speed bumps. Then add all way stops at the Whitelaw/Niska/Side Road 10 and Pioneer Road intersections. Reduce the speed limit to 40 kilometres between Whitelaw and Pioneer Trial. This will keep the character of the area and discourage many drivers from using it as a short cut. It will also benefit the wildlife. Next we make our high paid planning staff earn their keep and figure out what to do with the traffic from the west end. Then we let our dysfunctional council argue about it for months and in the end make the wrong decision. I am not considering any of this as traffic calming, I would rather think of it as returning it to a quiet side road using modern technology and methods. We can't return it to a gravel road, but this is the next best thing.

Our council getting more and more dysfunctional with the same 7-6 vote on too many issues. To those people who didn't vote in the last municipal election, you got what you deserve and the rest of us are stuck with it. It looks like a long wait until the next election.

Les Enekes can be reached directly by owl. For those not owl equipped, he can be reached at

The views of columnists in The Fountain Pen do not necessarily represent the views of the principals of the publication.

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