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Opinion: Where was their common sense?

Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely

Published on July 26, 2017

The Silly Service is getting sillier.

This week brought two outrageous examples of bureauocracy gone amok.
In Toronto a 73-year-old retiree is facing hefty fines because he dared to take the initiative and try to improve his local community. The man lives in a seniors highrise which abuts a community garden and park. However, the garden is not available to many because there is not a proper access to it. Many of the residents of the complex have been easing down a small slope to get to the garden. In the process many have slipped and fallen and there has been more than one broken bone as a result.
The man wanted a short staircase built to provide access and approached his local councillor about the issue. It seems the council had seen the need for such an access previously because a study had already been done and an 8 step stairway could be built for between $150,000 and $600,000. Too much the city said!
Well this retiree took the initiative, bought the lumber and built it himself for less than $600. But the city wants it gone! We can`t have being just going out on their own and improving the community they said.
Meanwhile, in England, the Tower Hamlets council officer has fined a 5-year old girl almost $250 for setting up a lemonade stand outside her home. The stand was only open for about 30 minutes when four police officers approached and advised the girl`s family that the stand would have to be closed because she did not have the proper `trade permit`. The girl had wanted to have the stand because there was a festival being held in the area, but one again officialdom stepped in to crush her initiative.
Sometimes the Public/Civil Service really is the Silly Service!

Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister and past president of the Springhill and Area Chamber of Commerce.