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Another Fine Mess and Varmint (four legged) Problems

Web posted on September 15, 2016

A Curmudgeon's View

By Les Enekes

I am really having trouble understanding the situation around Downey Road. Our lack of planning department in their infinite wisdom is looking at destroying (I absolutely refuse to use the term they use) what is left of Downey Road. Yet at the same time they are going make it much easier for more traffic to get to Downey Road by replacing a single lane bridge with a two lane bridge with no load restrictions on Niska Road. Wow what a stroke of absolute genius. I am sure that anyone who has stayed at a Holiday Inn Express (remember the commercials?), or took any geography in high school can see that this plan makes no sense. I am trying to be kind by typing very slowly and not using big words so that the people at One Carden Street can understand.

This once again proves that the lack of planning results in all sort of problems. When Downey Road was built, it was a four lane arterial road. From what I remember of my high school geography the best way to build a new arterial road is to have the houses backing onto it. This way the road can fulfill it's intended purpose, without causing problems for the residents. This could have been done very easily in the early planning process. Problem number one solved. Am I going too fast here? Wait a minute, this type of planning seems to be against policy in Guelph.

It didn't take long for the Powers That Be to do the road whole destruction thing (you all know my thoughts on this subject from my rant on roads back in May) and cut the number of lanes. Thus upsetting the drivers, but still going ahead with the Hanlon Business Park therefore making sure that there was more traffic on Downey Road. It really must have taken true genius to figure this out because it is far above my level of understanding and I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. Are you still with me?

Stone Road was supposed to extend to meet Highway 24 (as it was known back then). Yes there would have been some environmental impact at the time, but I am guessing minor compared to the disaster what is about to happen on Niska Road. By the way, no houses face Stone Road west of the Hanlon. They actually got that part right at the time. (The guy who let that happen was probably fired for competence.) I am sure the cost would have been quite reasonable compared to today's costs. I suppose I should be using a much larger font so it is easier to read by the people at One Carden Street.

As I understand it, the Hanlon was supposed to be a limited access road leading into Guelph. Had they stuck to the original plan we would not have people using Downey Road to avoid the mess on the Hanlon. Do you get the impression that no foresight or planning went into this area of town?

Of course hindsight is always 20-20 as the guy who swallowed his contact lenses found out.

That brings us back to the Great Niska Road Debacle, which will make sure that even more traffic ends up on Downey Road. Instead of doing the right thing, the Great One's of Infinite Wisdom are proposing all sorts of ridiculous measures to solve a problem that should have never happened in the first place. Sooner or later they will want to tear up the pavement and put in a two lane dirt road. That should do the trick. I don't get to that end of town all that often these days but from what I can tell that whole area has been fouled (there is a somewhat stronger word beginning with the letter "F" that is traditionally used) up beyond all repair. If you live in the area get out while the getting is good, because no matter what they do, things will only get worse. Maybe the rest of us should consider the same. Guelph isn't what it used to be. There are buyers from Toronto who will pay outrageous prices and will think nothing of the mess down there because it is much better than what they are used to.

Just a side note here, from what I hear, that area of town has become a haven for coyotes/coy wolves (ill begotten offspring of coyotes and wolves). There have been numerous encounters including dogs and humans being attacked even in broad daylight. Their howling can be heard most nights. So far the authorities are more interested in making life more miserable for drivers than helping with a real problem. They say they are monitoring the situation. I keep seeing a commercial on TV explaining the difference between monitoring a situation and actually doing something about it.

At least in my end of town the only varmints that seem to be causing problems are the skunks. Hardly a night goes by without the wonderful odour wafting through the neighbourhood. If you leave them alone they will not bother you. Unfortunately, curious dog in back yard meeting strange looking black and white "cat" equals stinky dog and neighbourhood. I will take the invisible skunks over the visible coyotes any day of the week.

Our plastic garbage bins have made it a lot more difficult for critters (cute and harmless) and varmints (mostly harmful but still cute at times) to scavenge. However there are still condos, apartments, institutions, and businesses still using the old style garbage containers. They probably still attract a fair share of animals domestic and not so domestic. The best we can all do is to make sure that we don't leave anything outside that something can make a meal out of, and make sure that the lids are closed. Feed the birds, not the critters and varmints.

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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