Editorial comment: Does Big Brother know what’s right?

The Capital Regional District is making some unenforceable bylaws

Pirjo Raits

Are we being over regulated? Is the Capital Regional District overstepping its authority and mandate? Has the CRD become big brother or father who knows best?

I honestly don’t know how stupid we must all be when a regional district has the capacity to be able to put in bylaws which appear to make no sense whatsoever and which cannot be regulated or enforced. In their minds’ eye, they are probably doing what they consider to be the “right” thing. In my mind’s eye, they are controlling, dictatorial and lack a whole bunch of common sense.

Number one on the hopelessly inane scale is the great idea to charge people more for water because they aren’t using enough and there isn’t enough money being generated by water usage. Add to that regulations which state when and if you can water your lawn or wash your car. Southern Vancouver Island has lots of water. Sooke Lake is almost always full to capacity and we are not running out any time soon. If you can’t make enough money to cover your expenses, then you cut your expenses, just like any other business has to do when the revenue isn’t there. It shouldn’t always be up to the taxpayer to cover revenue shortfalls.

Instance number two is composting kitchen recyclables. This is a grand idea but no one did their homework before they decided to make it mandatory for many residents in some CRD neighbourhoods to have to compost their kitchen waste. The irony of this is that the  CRD has no where to put all of it once it’s collected. As a consequence much of it is getting dumped into the landfill. This is a clear situation of putting the cart before the horse and it makes those big brains at the CRD appear just a little over enthusiastic to say the least. Recycling and composting is a good thing, no doubt about that but if it all ends up in the landfill, it’s  a waste of time, money and resources.

Instance number three is the new proposal to limit smoking in parks and public spaces. Smokers have already been relegated to the back alleys and sidewalks to smoke and to put yet another restriction on them is unfair and discriminatory. It appears smokers do not have any rights when they are doing what is legal.

The big question here is how are you going to regulate or enforce such bylaws? If someone lights up a cigarette next to you in the park, what are you going to do? Call a cop? Demand their name so you can report them? Or are you going to walk away muttering about inconsiderateness and stink? Most smokers,  (B.C. has the least number of smokers in Canada), are considerate and try not to gas other people with their second hand smoke. They are not criminals and they should not be treated like felons and ner-do goods. If you want to clean the air, do something about the traffic at rush hour when thousands of cars are spewing exhaust. This is surely unhealthier than a whiff of cigarette smoke and no one gives it the attention it demands.

What is the mandate of the CRD anyway? Are they the dictators of our lifestyles? Really they should mind their own business not our personal lives.

Pirjo Raits is the editor of the Sooke News Mirror