| Jul 17, 2008

Letters - July 17, 2008

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Letters - July 17, 2008 Letters: July 17

Repentent Canoeist, Randy Weekes

Taxes Well Managed, Bill Deacon

Repentent Canoeist

I am about to put a cheque for $125 in the mail to the Court of Justice of Ontario. I was caught red - or rather empty - handed by the OPP, when out canoeing with my family on a lovely wee lake in our area.

I had no whistle in the canoe.Let me be accurate. The fine for no whistle in a canoe is $100. The extra $25 is a "victim fine surcharge". I assume the surcharge is to help compensate the innocent subjects of crimes committed by canoeists. Reckless speeding, endangering the stability of motor boats, excessive noise, pollution and wanton shoreline damage come to mind as possibilities. And to be fully truthful, it was not our only offence. Apparently the measurements of our bailers did not meet specifications, and our emergency rope was insufficiently buoyant. It seems that size does count, and that the appropriate measure of lightness is important in ropes, if not in officials who support safety on our lakes. Who knew?

In order to learn what we can do in the future to avoid offending The Crown in this manner, we asked where we could find the regulations. We were informed that they are posted in Marinas or that we could check with the Coast Guard. It has been far too long since we had our canoes into a Marina for a checkup.

I couldn't help but thinking how fortunate the aboriginal communities, voyageurs and explorers of this country were to have survived their adventures without the support of the OPP. I doubt that they carried enough floatable ropes or whistles to meet the Crown's standards. It is possible that their bailers were adequate. Hopefully they measured them before leaving shore.

I assume that the officer gave us the fine instead of an explanation and warning because he anticipated that it would motivate us to inform others in the canoeing community about the importance of locating the regulations and ensuring that they are met. It has indeed done that.Before you next contemplate taking your canoe to one of our lovely lakes, please paddle by a marina or your local Coast Guard office and inquire about the rules. Ignorance is not excusable and a willingness to learn and adjust may come too late.

Randy Weekes,A Repentant Highlander.

Taxes Well Managed

On June 5 I was in the very small village of Henderson helping a friend, Rick Belwa, do some work on his house, and we went on a country road to the village of Northbrook to shop. I remarked to my friend that I had never been on these roads in my life, and could not get over the fact that they were very well paved, brushed and extremely well maintained. There wasn’t a single pothole, just smooth pavement and one could negotiate the many turns easily at normal highway speeds.

I asked my friend, “OK, this is summer, what about winter?” He replied, “The roads are like this always, kept clear!”

I cannot but help think of the horrendous state of some of our streets in Kingston, and how in winter many are left unplowed. I thought perhaps a letter to our mayor, Mr. Harvey Rosen, would be in order, suggesting he and his city streets and roads superintendent pay a visit to the townships, like the one I was in, and see how to maintain good roads.

All of these side roads were paved and a pleasure to drive on, proof that North Frontenac’s ratepayers’ taxes are being well managed and put to good use.

Wish I could say the same for Kingston.

Bill Deacon

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