Wood Fair keeps growing in popularity

Reflecting our times

based on sustainable forestry and the cre- ation, marketing and utilization of forest- related products in Eastern Ontario. The wood auction, with 100 lots of lum- ber and burls, will provide a link between woodlot owners and wood buyers. Demonstrations that include wood turn- ing, wood carving, portable sawmill etc. will allow woodlot owners to discover tradition- al woodworking techniques, existing crafts and innovative business or recreational op- portunities based on forest resources. Over 30 forest-related artisans will be on- site featuring their products. Commercial retailers and wholesalers will demonstrate and exhibit forestry equip- ment. Exhibitors representing a range of forest-related products and services (e.g. furniture, home builders, forest manage- ment) will be in attendance. Advice and information will be offered on sustainable forest management and certifi- cation under the Forest Stewardship Coun- cil (FSC). Children will be introduced to the magic of working with wood through various ac- tivities. The museum will display its collection of heritage woodworking tools and wood- frame buildings. The activity is organized by the SD&G Certified Forest Owners, Boisés Est and the Glengarry Pioneer Museum.

“This is driving me nuts! “ There are many matters that may have prompted that remark from Champlain Township Mayor Gary Barton at a recent meeting. Like most politicians, Barton must deal with a mixed bag of problems, everything from the lack of money for essential services, to the brightness of soccer field lights to an appeal for help from a taxpayer besieged by skunks. (This summer has been a real stinker, literally.) Anyway, this time, the veteran representative’s frustration was directed at yet another regulation, or more specifically, the need for another statute. In this day and age, everyone, particularly public bodies, must exercise due diligence and have a risk management plan in place, because it seems that at any moment, somebody might sue for some real or imagined act or omission. Thus, municipalities must, among other things, ensure that their road signs are easy to see at night. Honest. This regulation is based on the assumption that many drivers feel that they should not be forced to assume responsibility for their actions. Car enters the ditch? It’s not your fault. The warning sign was too drab. Call a lawyer. Fortunately, most of Champlain’s regulatory and warning signs received glowing reviews when their retroreflectivity was tested. As township public works superintendent James McMahon relates, a firm was hired to inventory 876 road signs. Of this total, only 19 require immediate replacement. At the same time, the testers affixed a unique bar code number to each sign in the mu- nicipality. The company provided a spreadsheet with data on the GPS location of each and the retroreflectivity measurements. The beauty of this technology is that a map can be created to pin-point the location of defective signs in the future. OK, so nobody is thrilled with this rapid progression towards a full-blown “Nanny state,” where everything is regulated, for the common good. But with an aging population, the retroreflectivity test makes sense. A check with the Ontario Good Roads Association shed some light on the situation. On its web page, OGRA explores facts, myths, questions and concerns concerning the Minimum Maintenance Standards Sign Retroreflectivity rule. The MMS were implemented by the province to assist municipalities with managing the risk associated with the maintenance of roads and as a defence from claims citing negli- gence. Compliance is voluntary. However, MMS with proof of compliance through docu- mentation has now become an industry norm recognized by the courts. Should there be a claim regarding a sign, whether its condition is in question or worse, that it is missing, the municipality needs to demonstrate due diligence regarding routine and retroreflectivity inspections. Amendments to the Minimum Maintenance Standards regulation, which came into ef- fect February 18, 2010, require municipalities to inspect their regulatory and warning traf- fic signs annually for retroreflectivity. Sign retroreflectivity inspections must be conducted using a reflectometer. Inspection of signs for retroreflectivity is undertaken as part of the municipality’s risk management program to ensure that all signs within its jurisdiction meet or exceed the minimum requirements for reflectivity. An inventory of municipal signs is part of the municipality’s risk management program. Are you wondering why should the person conducting the visual inspections for sign retroreflectivity ideally be 50 years old or older? “It is a recognized fact that eyesight degenerates with age. As people age, they need more light to see at night. In a report prepared for the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), Dr. Alison Smiley, University of Toronto and Human Factors North Inc. shows that a 60 year old needs 8 times more light as a 20-year-old to read road signs at night,” reports OGRA. Are you also wondering why not replace all signs when they reach the manufacturer’s recommended life expectancy instead of undertaking retroreflectivity inspections? “This may not be a practical solution from a resources perspective based on the number of regulatory and warning signs within a municipality. Further, signs are often damaged or missing and must be replaced on an as required basis with the result that not all signs within a municipality will be the same age. “ The association also notes: “There is an element of risk in all municipal activities.” Or, as a wise person once said, common sense is not all that common. Because of this sad fact, municipalities have rules on the books that govern every pos- sible activity, habit or particular interest. Most are no-brainers. But still, our governments have entire departments whose sole function is to ensure that people do not do stupid things. For example, during the drought, people had to be reminded not to set fires out- side. A bonfire can get much bigger, very quickly, if flames spread to a nearby house or barn. We need property standards by-laws because certain property owners are unkempt. Pet owners must be reminded about the poop-and-scoop rule, for their dogs. People must be told not to litter, or use ditches as illegal dumping grounds. The Minimum Maintenance Standards rules began as a means of helping municipalities counter claims that were related to bridge and road maintenance. Each municipality must adhere to these guidelines, which cover maintenance schedules, and regular inspection of infrastructure. For example, there are oodles of regulations covering rough walking areas, or “sidewalk surface discontinuity.” It is obvious that our governments must prepare for any contingency and possible litiga- tion. Retroreflectivity rules may drive us nuts, but they merely reflect our times.

DUNVEGAN | The Glengarry Wood Fair and Auction has rapidly grown into a pop- ular event. The 2011 edition of the bilingual pro- gram attracted over 1,200 people, includ- ing visitors from Ottawa, Gatineau, Mon- tréal and further afield. Another large crowd is expected for the fourth edition, which will be held Satur- day, August 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum in Dun- vegan. For more information, visit www.wood- . You may also contact Dorothy Hamilton (SD&G Certified Forest Owners) at 613-933-7671 – or Jean-Claude Havard (Boisés Est) at 613- 673-3089 – . The Wood Fair welcomes all those inter- ested in forests, trees and wood. It aims to raise public awareness on the current state of our regional forests and how they continue to play a significant role in our economic, social and environmental well- being. The event allows woodlot owners, woodworkers, wood artisans, forestry consultants, maple syrup producers, loggers, sawmill operators and forestry equipment suppliers to demonstrate eco- nomic and employment opportunities

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About 1,200 people attended the 2011 edition.

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