Lowest Common Denomonator

Times Reformer: Keith Ashley - November 11, 2008

Many years ago, at South Public School, I was taught that reducing fractions to their lowest common denominator made it so much easier to add and subtract them. It was a lesson that I have put to good use over the years. Apparently the Mayor and the County Council were also exposed to this wonderful method of reducing everything to the lowest common denominator.

An example of this is the flouoride issue in Simcoes water system. To quote the Mayor, "lets do it with all the systems or with none of the systems". With a choice like that it is very apparent the direction the council will take with this issue.

Since changing from regional to county government, I have seen curbside leaf collection disappear, spring and fall clean up disappear (to mention a few). All of these Simcoe projects are gone because other jurisdictions did not have them.

The Mayor uses the example that other parts of the county are paying for services in Simcoe. That kind of thinking can only lead to further division in Norfolk. Maybe Simcoe residents should not pay for upgrades to the Port Dover Marina or other facilities we dont have here in town.. This is very shallow thinking on the part of the Mayor and council.

I suggested to the first administration (Norfolk) that a differentiated tax system would allow the various areas within Norfolk to keep the services that they already had but was told it could not be done. I thought that was nonsense at the time and still do. I do not believe a resident of Houghton should pay for curbside leaf pick up in Simcoe but because one area does not have something is not grounds to remove it from another area. The tax system within Norfolk could be changed to meet this need.

It is my hope that this council will not reduce everything in this county to the lowest common denominator for the sake of a few dollars on the tax bill.

As an after thought, since the removal of these services from Simcoe I have not seen any reduction in my yearly tax bill.

In another local paper this week it was interesting to see that Bruce Power took out a full page ad to tell us that they are committed to clean energy. During the same week it was interesting that the Mayors of Haldimand and Norfolk welcomed Bruce Power with open arms.

Before this area becomes a full supporter of nuclear energy maybe it should investigate the total cost of this source of power.

Here are a few problems that I see with nuclear:

There is no such thing as "clean" nuclear power. Although the actual use of uranium is relatively low in carbon, everything else related to it has a big carbon footprint mining and milling of uranium, construction and dismantling of nuclear reactors. In the final analysis nuclear is not much cleaner than coal.

There is no safe storage option for nuclear waste. No storage method has been accident free to date. Uranium waste leaves a radioactive toxic legacy for thousands of years.

Mining of uranium puts the health of miners at risk. Even with the advances in technology there is still substantial risk. Communities within a 100 kilometre radius (and as far as 1000 km) are impacted by uranium dust particles. In mining areas instances of lung cancer and leukemia in children are much higher.

Uranium mining poisons water resources. The simple act of drilling for uranium can impact on drinking water and total watersheds.

Why has the United States stopped mining uranium and buys it from Canada? Could it be that they recognized the risks to man and the environment and decided it was safer for them to let Canadians do the hazardous steps.

Hopefully there are safer and cleaner sources of power in Norfolks future.

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