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The ROCK

Robbie Brady

One never knows how something starts but it always amazes everyone just how many legs a story gets especially in a small town. We are not talking about “the rock the wrestler” or “the rock the actor” but we are talking about a rock, a stone or an Igneous rock or sedimentary clastic rock. A reliable source has disclosed that a rock was found by a young child at the corner of Ottawa and Union Street. This revelation has turned the town upside down and divided. Where did this rock come from. It must have fallen from the tower, part of a stone structure that was a church, a foundry and now a dream to be a condominium.

Barricades went up all around the corner, you know the kind you see separating lanes on highways under construction. Well do-gooders (every town has them) complained that it was dangerous because they couldn’t see over the barriers. REALLY! “Fix the problem”, says everyone. Apparently, the owner, nice guy by some people, can’t afford the cost of proposed fixes by many engineering studies going back not days, weeks, or months but years. To be exact 10years and 20 years with both saying the same thing. The tower is weakening due to weather and needs to be reinforced or take more of the tower down. As we live by hearsay, part of the tower was removed a number of years ago but now needs repair. In fact, one tenant has been forced to move out due to safety concerns and at the moment has found accommodation from a good Samaritan but still has not been able to return to the unit to recover any belongings and no suitable housing has been found.

Well now we have a town problem. What to do with the falling tower. Safety is always paramount so more elaborate barricades were put in place but now cars can’t get by at all. Thank you, do-gooders. The “temporary” solution was to have a “temporary” road closure. This meant detours for the whole town and drive through traffic, all going over one bridge and virtually putting two thoroughfares as one. Cars and trucks have had to travel up and down the main street and of course the traffic lights were not set up to handle extra traffic. Left turns were nearly impossible at some intersections and gridlock was now a reality.

Tempers flared. Tear it down! Fine the owner! Fix the tower!  No one talks about weather anymore, only the detour. This is all you hear at the grocery store, Tim’s or the post office. Stop this detour business. Although some residents were enjoying the peace and quiet on the closed street, others were complaining about long drives through different parts of the town to go to a location that used to be a stone’s throw away. They needed to use their GPS!

After many building orders over the years, the latest deadline has now passed and the Municipality has offered to institute the stabilization plan at the owner’s cost. This is taking place in the dead of winter with a mixed bag of weather that appears to have slowed the repairs. Temporarily putting up barriers that would allow at least one lane of traffic was to take place and comments so far were such that a butterfly net was not going to work. Well confidence in the work being done has now waned. Some people say that a large construction company in town could solve the problem in a half days work such that there would be a site for a new condo building. Others say that churches can live hundreds of years with proper restoration. Somewhere between tear it down or fix it up still requires money that the town nor the owner don’t have.

It is now two going on three months of detour through town with no real long- term solution in sight. The trucks have learned to avoid the detour. The town folks have learned to drive aggressively to get through intersections. It is apparent to all that money is needed for the ultimate solution but no one has any. Maybe the rock that the kid found wasn’t from the tower or maybe it was. But whatever “Maybe”, maybe the towns people could pitch in and help repair the building much like the friendly town many years ago that would help a neighbour build a barn.  Maybe a philanthropist donates some money or construction company pitches in to help. Maybe the town makes Ottawa street a one-way to get a better traffic flow. Maybe just maybe, it will be a win for everyone.

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