Right in the centre - Some things just don’t work. Why?


Ken Waddell
Neepawa Banner & Press

In nearly 60 years of observing government and business, I have seen a lot of things that just don’t seem to work out. What triggered that thought was the story this week about the sports complex at Kapyong base in Winnipeg. It has been out of use for 10 years now and yet it was deemed to be one of the best facilities in the City of Winnipeg. It has fallen into such as state of disrepair that it may never be used again. It’s sad, especially when good sports facilities are needed so badly.

Why did this happen? The federal government basically couldn’t get their act together. When they decided they didn’t need the military base any longer, they simply sat on their butts and didn’t get it sold or used. They ended up in some kind of a fight with the First Nations and the city and whoever. I hope all the squabbling groups are happy now as the building is likely ruined, not to mention all the houses that have been demolished. While everyone chased their stupid, selfish interests, a great facility was lost. I have heard there was mould. Well, so what? Treat the mould before it gets too far. I heard there is asbestos. Lots of places have asbestos in pipe wrappings and floor tiles. So what? If it isn’t disturbed, it does no harm. Neepawa went through that whole goofy scene with the former Eastview Lodge and now all we have is a muddy knoll that is up for sale after a lot of wasted money.

There are so many vested interest groups and goofy rules that once a building is left for a year or two, you may as well send in the hi-hoe to bring it down. The various competing and fighting interest groups, the rules, the regulations all contribute to a great and sad waste of resources. Quite frankly, I am sick of it. The new construction codes that are enforced on older buildings are absolute nonsense. There likely isn’t a building over 40 years of age anywhere in Manitoba that would survive a building code test today and I blame a self-serving bureaucracy for most of the problems.

The same nonsense applies to education and heath care. An isolated case where someone gets hurt or killed and the rule writers converge on the debris surrounding the incident. Their answer is more rules to armour plate and bubble wrap every person so that “such a thing will never happen again.” Yeah, right! Can’t have sealed, waxed asbestos tiles in a building. Have to have very expensive H-Vac systems. Put up more signs, call in more inspectors. It’s a farce really.

Meanwhile, we spend money on zoos, parks, human rights museums and God knows what all else but close our eyes to things that can be fixed. How much would it really cost to provide clean water to every community in Manitoba. How much imagination does it take to pick up raging alcoholics or drug addicts and put them in semi-confined shelters instead of letting them freeze to death on the streets? How much improvement would we need to our child welfare system to avoid 15 year old girls from being raped and murdered?

Our governments spend a lot of money on some really stupid stuff and we still have bad water and dead kids. Yes, after 60 years of watching and fighting for change, I am not happy. But I don’t intend to give up either.

We must battle on to reduce the nonsense in our part of the world and if it means attacking bad policy and stupid laws, so be it. Don’t even get me started on legalized marijuana and driving.