In all the concern over particulate matter and toxic fumes, gravel trucks and zoning, I have to wonder if the underlying humour in the situation has somehow been lost.
After all, this bizarre chain of events with the asphalt plant comes on the heels of so many others like it that I feel our town has achieved a level of absurdity rivalled only by Monty Python. This is the kind of thing the Kids in the Hall wrote skits about, no punchlines required.
Think about it for a second. We built an entire employee housing neighbourhood, complete with a high performance athletes' centre for Olympic wannabes, within shouting range of an operational asphalt plant - not to mention a stone's throw from a reclaimed landfill that's venting methane gas, beside high tension power lines, and across the river from a sewage treatment plant. The only thing that would make it more ridiculous would be the discovery of Jimmy Hoffa and a few barrels full of radioactive medical waste where the soccer field is going to go.
You have to admit that it's kind of funny. No? Too soon maybe?
Before long, however, I expect all the people moving into the neighbourhood to lighten up a bit. Maybe nickname their new neighbourhood "Chuck-a-Lung Crossing," or one of the condos "Phalty Towers." They can tell visitors that they can find their new homes by following the plume of smoke and the scent of slow-roasting bitumen. Stick a piece of meat on a pole in your backyard and presto: instant mesquite.
Anybody? Is this thing on?
"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die." - Mel Brooks
There's a pattern to the absurdity, if people are paying attention.
Did you hear the one where we paid almost twice what we budgeted for a public library to make it green and get it open on time for the Olympics, only to have it closed to the public during the Games so VIPs would have a warm place to drink beer?
Or the one about cutting down a chunk of perfectly good forest in the village to host the Olympic medal ceremonies, and then later finding out that the medal ceremonies weren't going to take place there after all? (VANOC reversed its decision shortly after a closed door meeting where Whistler also reversed its decision to allow temporary commercial use permits, and everybody had a good laugh.)
The reason that particular location was chosen over, say, the driving range, was because of the potential to build all sorts of community amenities on the site - first a skating arena/conference centre, then an outdoor rink with an iconic roof, then an outdoor rink with no roof, surrounded by buildings contributed by national Olympic committees that would serve the public good. None of those things actually came to be, but more public meetings meant more free cookies so it wasn't a total loss.