Mailbag Feb 14 2013

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

Apropos of Chris Benjamin's sad piece, "Our wasted forests" (Feature, February 7), unfortunately the behaviour of the present NDP government represents the anthropocentric view of the world and life to which the overwhelming majority of our own species subscribes, whether explicitly so or not (in virtually all cases not).

Until this changes, if it ever does, hopes that governments of any stripe will do much of significance in the way of respecting and protecting nature in its own right---the Acadian forest in all its richness, beauty and diversity---are bound to remain unfilled. —David Blackwell, Eastern Passage

Next time that you decide to write an article critiquing todays' forest practices, please consult one of us---you know, forestry contractors. Never mind the mills, never mind the politics. Come with one of us to the woods and let us show you first-hand what we are doing, how we're doing it and how we are indeed balancing public perception versus "mill expectations."

I have put in five years of forestry myself for both major and minor operations and have yet to perform a clear-cut. I am one of the new generation of loggers that cannot understand where Benjamin came up with this "100 percent clear-cut" statement. Perhaps instead of painting all loggers---such as myself, with an environmental professional designation---with the same brush, come take a first-hand look into what the labourers are doing behind the scenes to preserve todays' forests, for tomorrow.

The Department Of Natural Resources put on an enormous project last year to educate not only contractors, but the forestry machinery operators on logging sustainably and for the environment. Why have you not mentioned this? Do you wish for those working in this industry to starve and eventually leave the only career they know?

I do not understand what you have against 21st century logging, but I sure bet you'd rather wipe with paper than with nothing at all. —posted by Kyle Dimmock at

Yes, the NDP government is doing very well on protected areas (way to go), but its clearcutting definition is a joke---industry can still cut ALL THE MATURE TREES in a stand and not be considered a clearcut. That's just wrong. —posted by Sitka Bruce

Street smarts
Thank you, Tim Bousquet, for defending pedestrians ("Sidewalks of death," Reality Bites, February 7). Your ideas for immediate policy changes are excellent.Based on my personal experience, I would expand on the education of drivers. Slow down, yes, but also:

1. Look both ways, when backing up, or pulling out of a side street or driveway. I always wait until I make eye contact, which drivers often interpret as my giving them the go-ahead.

2. Every intersection is a crosswalk even if it isn't marked. I've even had police cars sail past as I was trying to cross.

3. Use your signal lights every time you are about to turn.

4. Follow the rules in large parking lots too. A pedestrian walking across a Sobeys parking lot needs 10 sets of eyes!

Hopefully, this new pedstrian safety committee will make some substantial changes. —Janet Brush, Halifax

Tim Bousquet got it wrong. He took the hackneyed position it's the pedestrian against the driver and pedestrians should win. It's only when we look dispassionately at traffic as a series of actions and reactions that we can prevent deaths.

If the pedestrian and the driver never cross paths it's hard to have an accident. Where the two must cross paths unambiguous actions and responsibilities will minimize accidents. Barrie, Ontario had an intersection where cars move in each direction and then all cars stopped while all pedestrians crossed in whatever direction they desired. There are no cars turning while pedestrians are in a crossing.

Marked crosswalks in Winnipeg are only allowed in the middle of a long block where traffic can't turn right or left. The only reason for any car to stop in the middle of a block is for a pedestrian. Where there is pedestrian traffic at an intersection it is controlled by traffic lights.

By assuming pedestrians and drivers make bad decisions we can design safe crosswalks and intersections. All of HRM's intersections and crosswalks need to be upgraded. —Dave Grimshire, Middle Sackville

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