by Peter Johnson (proud M.O.B. member) Upper Oxford Mills
I look forward to the arrival of The NG-Times in my mailbox every week. I look forward to reading it from ‘stem to gudgeon’, as my dear old mom would say. My enjoyment goes up when reading those editions that have lots of ‘Letters to the Editor’. The NG-Times has a very knowledgeable and literate readership. My training was in teaching young people to read and write, but more importantly to appreciate the English language when it is used skilfully. Because of this, my interest in reading what the readers have to say is piqued each time I see a new contributor in the ‘Letters’ section.
I had taken a dip in the pool of letter writing lately, and the results were as follows: I wrote to Karen Dunlop, Director of Public Works for NG, about the way that the snow was plowed on my road. I was concerned that my mailbox was going to be buried. I wrote the following:
‘Hello Again Karen: Well, as you advised, I have been out ‘appreciating’ the work the crews have been doing clearing the road. After the last heavy snowfall and the massive amount of snow that got put into the first ten feet of my lane way, they returned on two more occasions to remove the ice from our dirt road (one of the few left in the immediate area). So, again, I got to go down, shovel in hand (the snow blower really doesn’t handle large chunks of ice very well) and clear my access to the road. My neighbours are starting to grumble.
‘M.O.B. (the McGovern Rd. W. Organization of Burly snow shovellers) has complained that we on the south side of the road are being given preferential treatment, because we get the first pass of the plow and they, as a result, get less snow to shovel–that is not good for their health. Yes, I too was puzzled at first, until they explained to me: physical exercise, and aerobic exercise in particular, promotes overall health, as well as better cardiac health. We on the nearly-snowed-under side of the road are obviously getting much better cardiac workouts than those poor unfortunates on the north side of the road – all due, of course, to the extra amount of snow that we get to shovel.’
I went on to explain that in the past 20 years, when this issue would occur – yearly, without fail, I would do my civic duty – complain by email to the mayor or a councilor. I was usually ignored. But not this year. Oh no. This time, I got a response. Councilor John Barclay wrote:
‘On a personal note, I’m a proud member of B.O.B. (Bedell Organization of Burley snow shovellers), South Side Chapter… I suspect the B.O.B. has the same number of neo-hippies as the M.O.B. Suffice to say, I feel your pain, man…’
John went on to explain the limitations and the planning that went into the clearing of our roads. Now, at long last, I have my answer. Thank you John Barclay. There are a lot more important indications that things are being done differently with this newly-minted council. I am very pleased to see all of them.