Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Question of Planning

In all the discussion about the closing of the local Generating Station and the impact that closing will have on Atikokan people it is becoming evident that the real problem is a matter of planning (or lack thereof). The government talks about helping but have no plan in place to do so and seems to have forgotten that rebuilding an economic base takes far more that the 18 months between now and the planned closure.

On the township side planning has been missed as well. There are some ideas floating around (some useful, some more out in left field) but this government announced 2 years ago that they planned to close Ontario's coal-fired generating stations. Why has this thinking of alternatives just started now? Why not two years ago? Instead the everyone in town was convinced that they could change the plan, that AGS would not close. And now we are facing a deadline with little back-up in place. Wouldn't it have made more sense to have the local Economic Development people, who were heavily involved in the "save AGS" campaign, start working on new development and leave the retention of AGS to the township office? Then even if AGS was saved ATikokan would be all that much farther ahead because new money was coming to town, not replacement.

One of the problems of a siege mentality is that it pushes you to focus on averting the threat. But sometimes that blinds you to other alternatives. It is always better to have a back-up plan started well before you need it. Otherwise you get trapped when the main gate comes crashing down.

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