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RANT: The only time I've ever been ashamed of Castlegar

As I get older, I find there are fewer and fewer things I’m willing to get upset about – hence the lack of editorial rants of late.

There is, however, one issue that has me so incensed, so appalled, so disgusted, so flat-out ashamed, that it’s taken me weeks to write about it without using some of the more colourful (and less socially acceptable) words in what I flatter myself to think is an extensive vocabulary.

The worst of the Columbia Avenue construction is going to be done, weather allowing, by Monday, (the paving, specifically) – after that, it’s basically finishing touches – Fortis and Telus have to deal with their poles, lines need to be painted, trees planted, benches installed, etc. – but that’s mostly cosmetic, and the worst of the delays will be behind us.

What won’t be left behind are some of the hard feelings created by the outrageously infantile psychosis exhibited by some (not all, some residents were spectacular, patient and gracious) … by some of the so-called grown-ups in our community.

Yes, some people were forced to wait up to 45 minutes to get through Columbia Avenue. My question is this: SO WHAT?! Go live in any major centre and see what REAL traffic delays look like. I’ve read the Canadian Constitution, and nowhere, to the best of my recollection, does it speak to our inalienable right to get from one end of Columbia to the other in less than five minutes – that kind of self-involved, petty, venal entitlement is beneath the minimum standard of appropriate behaviour for a playschool student, much less the inaptly styled ‘adults’ I’m about to describe.

Telling a flagger he ought to “catch a bullet”, threatening a MarWest spokesperson with death (I kid you not), swearing, yelling, honking, speeding, endangering flaggers, threatening to run them over … the sheer volume of horrifying, sickening behaviour these past six months is enough to shame a third-world dictator, much less the good people of Castlegar.

Going on social media and attacking MarWest , the city, council, the flaggers (who, by the way, work for Safe Start and not MarWest, as I incorrectly reported), using words like ‘incompetent’, ‘unacceptable’, ‘stupid’, ‘wasteful’, ‘idiotic’ … the list goes on and on ad nauseum. What a vicious, foolish and, ultimately, wildly unproductive way to express dissent.

The only people with a real beef here are the business owners along Columbia – the rest of the unmitigatedly self-indulgent losers who declined to budget extra time for the drive and instead took their lack of pre-planning out on well-intentioned people having to stand in front of vehicles with no more protection than a stop sign – well, not to put too fine a point on it, you should be ashamed of yourselves. I’m certainly ashamed of you.

And the outrageous lies and misinformation being spread during the six-month tenure of this project are enough to make the most pathological liar proud of his honesty – here’s just some of it:

1.       The project was delayed one month – just ONE MONTH (the original completion ESTIMATE- note that word, estimate – was Oct. 15). That’s why they use the word ‘estimate’, folks, because a project of this scope and size will inevitably give rise to unexpected circumstances. It’s just how the world works, and any ‘adult’ worth their salt knows this.

2.       Every media outlet in the city has repeatedly reported that this project is not, was not, never was, about bike lanes. The bike lanes are, in fact, a side benefit because of a grant the city received to save the taxpayers money. The project is, and was always, about replacing water, sewer and drainage infrastructure to increase capacity, address time-related disintegration, and prevent sewer and drainage back-ups. If someone can’t be bothered to read a single article about the project and its scope, how dare they go on social media and spout off about it? It’s the act of a petulant child, and should not be tolerated.

3.       Emergency services (fire, police, BCAS)are dialed into the same radios MarWest is using – there is no delay for emergency services due to construction, and anyone who tells you there is … well, they are flat-out lying.

I love Castlegar. I’m proud of Castlegar. This shameful display is about as un-Castlegar, in my opinion, as anything I’ve ever seen.

To those of you who were patient, understanding and kind – you’re my Castlegar, and thank you.

To those who engaged in behaviour that would make a tantrumming toddler look like the love child of Gandhi and Mother Theresa, may I recommend this: 

Grow up.

Life has inconveniences, that’s just how it goes. Infrastructure has to be replaced, taxes have to be paid, unexpected delays arise, not every teeny, tiny, little thing is always going to go your way. So go the long way around, or budget extra time and turn on one of our excellent local radio stations so you can enjoy the ride.

There is no appointment so important that being late justifies you belittling, demeaning, threatening and attacking other people who are just trying to do their jobs.  Not to mention sacrificing, not just Columbia Avenue, but also the high road. And your claim to adulthood, your dignity, and your sense of community.

Rant over.