Loss of farmland 'serious'Thu, April 26, 2007
If idle impressions, reflexive anti-development sentiments, or study-driven speculations to drive more studies won't have you palsying in a generalized fear, then just trust a graduate student — chances are they're well trained in all of the above.
I wouldn't dare deny that situations can change, of course — no one needs a degree or a newspaper to figure that out. Similarly, I wouldn't deny that farmland could become much more valuable for agricultural use than for building someday, but then that very value would confront the "serious" problem, so it's not exactly very serious right now, is it? But the point of Sun Media's exercise, and Wilton's, is to invoke a fear of conceivable but not inevitable events and, without suggesting a precise answer to this fear, to invoke a precautionary impulse — by default, an entreaty for the precautionary principle to applied in thought and action. In thought, a general paralysis among the afflicted citizenry, which leaves action uncontested to government regulation. Good luck with that — even Wilton acknowledges the unintended urban sprawl consequences of the government's greenbelt regulations. If the precautionary principle had been applied in earnest forty years ago, technology wouldn't have even been allowed to increase agricultural efficiency to the point that only a fraction of former farmland is now needed to produce food.
"It is quite serious," says [Bronwynne] Wilton, a University of Guelph graduate student.
Fortunately, the reliance on aimless principles tend to paralyse even advocates and government into empty rhetoric. A meeting of the local Real Estate Institute of Canada appropriately hinged on "creative" solutions to urban growth.
If farmland is an absolute commodity that cannot be transmuted in value through innovation or "situations," as these alarmist scenarios are meant to suggest, then no growth is sustainable, if it's not too late already. This is just the meaningless nonsense of a sycophant of arbitrary authority to appease its amiable pretensions of moderation and reasonableness. The empty rhetoric goes a long way to tricking themselves of their own importance in solving problems and even into implementing some piecemeal regulations that hamper and add cost burdens to private initiatives and innovative solutions. But at least they can be counted on to stay a few steps behind.
The bottom line is, growth is OK, if it's sustainable," said Mark Seasons of the University of Waterloo's school of planning.
In the meantime, though, gotta keep working on getting those sympathetic sentiments:
Friday, April 27, 2007
Posted by MapMaster on Friday, April 27, 2007