June 18th, 2024

City Notebook: It’s not easy being green

By Collin Gallant on May 25, 2024.

@@CollinGallant

Local lawns have received a call from the governor, so to speak, in the form of near record rain in the month of May.

That kinda flies in the face of predictions of severe and continuing drought, but don’t get smug.

Recall that a whopper three-inch rain burst arrived here on a single day a couple weeks back. Without it, we’d be having the fourth driest start to spring since 2000 and there’s another month left.

It’s the sort of unpredictability that’s expected with climate change, believe it or not… and people will, or not.

With temps in the high 20Cs next week, you’ll be able to hear the grass grow. And what a difference adding a little water makes compared to last year, when your author can recall it raining exactly once between Canada Day and Labour Day. That one lifted manhole covers and clogged sewers.

This week’s News reveals that upgrades at the Taber beet processing plant will save an estimated 35,000 cubic metres of fresh water each year, according to Lantic.

That sounds like a heckuva lot, but really is only enough to grow about 30 irrigated acres of corn, beets or whatever.

To put it mildly, this town looks good in green, which is why it’s doubly disappointing to see the rush to “xeriscape” this spring by Hatters all-too happy to retire their mowers.

Oh, sure, it’s responsible to go with hearty drought-resistant breeds of plants. And it can be done right.

But more often than not is done quite wrong, it seems, with a dump truck’s worth of wood chips or gravel on top of weed barrier.

Lost is the fact that vegetation and trees moderate temperature and help retain water, but are often seen as a hassle.

Maybe we can’t have a putting green front and back, but surely something better than extra parking is due our front lawns and neighbourhoods.

Thousands

A ‘Go Fund Me’ appeal by residents of Richmound, Sask. to help their village mount legal challenges against cult followers in the town’s former school has surpassed its $10,000 goal.

It could be seen as neighbours helping neighbours, and ‘hooray’ and all that, but one the other hand, isn’t it a supreme failing?

Should a municipality have to hold a bake sale to get legal advice?

Where is the Saskatchewan Rural Municipalities Association, or the Saskatchewan provincial government on this issue?

An enterprising lawyer, or maybe a nearby big-city legal department, should offer a free consultation?

Millions

The Globe and Mail reports an interesting stat that 15,000 Calgarians could be considered “true millionaires” meaning that they have access to liquid assets totalling the once-vaunted seven-digit sum (i.e. not tied up in real estate).

A look ahead

Council meets Tuesday and Wednesday in special committee of the whole format to discuss, first, 2025-26 budget estimates, then there’s a presentation on municipal governance on Wednesday.

Next weekend is filling up fast with events such as Spectrum, the Public Library book sale and a community resource fair.

100 years ago

The Canadian Olympic team was preparing to sail for the summer’s Olympic Games in Paris, the News reported 100 years ago this week as Hatters celebrated Victoria Day with a program of baseball, football, lacrosse and horse racing.

A push was on by the Hat chamber of commerce to lobby the highway dept. for “main road” construction south to Manyberries.

Transmission of a photograph over telephone wire was accomplished between New York and Cleveland by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. Using a revolving cylinder, the company’s lab transposed over 10 minutes a picture of several newspaper reporters. It was done to test the system ahead of the summer’s Republican Party national convention.

The Canadian Pacific line through the Rockies should be doubled, as well as electrified, company president E.W. Beatty told reporters in Spokane, Wash. The matter of supply was being studied.

New CN branch lines discussed in the commons included a connection from Erye, Sask. to Acadia Valley, Alta.

British Air defence officials planned to witness a demonstration of the “diabolical ray” invention proposed by scientist Harry Matthews. Promising to create a zone of destruction 50 miles in radius, Matthews required three million pounds to begin production or he might sell it to France instead.

Collin Gallant covers city politics and a variety of topics for the News. Reach him at 403-528-5664 or via email at cgallant@medicinehatnews.com.

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