June 12, 2004

I may have mentioned once or twice before the construction of new buildings happening in and around the place where I live, as tight against an environmentally protected area as it was possible to get without overturning existing regulations. The trees I had shown across the seasons, standing in a lonely line leading straight to the bog, now have buildings close along both sides of them. Those images no longer exist. I suppose I should feel grateful that the trees themselves were allowed to still do so.

I seem to be the only local person wondering as to the need for this construction at all. These are not new, previously unavailable facilities. In most cases, they are simply enlarged versions of what already existed - unnecessarily enlarged, to my way of thinking. Really, nothing has been provided that was not available before. In other cases - well, this neighbourhood already had a local small restaurant and a local coffee shop and (ironically) a local fast food outlet (of course it would be a McDonald's!) which has just moved a few miles away along with the store in which it had been located. Maybe a mile or two away in at least two directions were other coffee shops and fast food outlets.

(As it happens, I saw Supersize Me yesterday, along with the original Jurassic Park - yes, both for the first time. I thought Morgan Spurlock might have done better to tone down his own "martyrdom to the cause" - his style began to seriously grate on me after the first few minutes - perhaps even to determinedly shift to McDonald's salads and other "healthy" choices when the initial sharp biochemistry changes started making themselves felt: and still show their effect. And I felt Jurassic Park made a pleasant change as a film which simultaneously was able to appreciate self-humour and understand suspense - rare in modern films.)

But it seems a mile or two away is too far away, and we must have one of each across the street as well. Never mind the sharp discrepancy between provision of needs and perception of needs and induced perception of needs. Never mind environmental cost.

There has been an ongoing war between local residents and deer over gardens: but since the construction seems to have scared the deer deeper into the bog and away from the gardens, even that is seen in a positive light. Almost, it is seen even to balance off the constant dust in the air, on the non-rain days.

Most strongly protested was the originally proposed size of the new residential buildings: to the point where the original 12-storey plans were changed to two-storey townhouses. The location is identical. The environmental impact on the bog is no different! The only thing that has been altered was to preserve the view, by keeping surrounding buildings low ... and, not incidentally, to keep the local building and resident density among the lowest in any slowly urbanising area.

I don't know. Were it not for the bog - of increasing rarity and isolation - I should in fairness be expecting this area to slowly be opened up to "development" (open grasslands and farmers' fields apparently being inadequately developed to modern eyes). There is no inherent reason why the area in which I live should be immune to growing population, closed away from other people.

As it is, we seem once again to be encroaching upon something naturally beautiful - leaving it in a tight ring of "protected" which nevertheless cannot protect it from being slowly eroded, slowly damaged, slowly killed. I don't see that we have traded it for anything of value. But locally - I seem to be the only one who thinks so.


Smile of the day:

Bush's Star Trek Voyage

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