Touring the west was a great education… (June/July 2015)

june-july-2015-cover
Tom-Black

Tom Black

Hello Folks,

Well Marlene and I just got back from a family wedding in B.C., that we turned into an extended holiday with her brother on the coast. It was a whole new experience for a solid land loving old guy from the east, but what a wonderful eye-opener into the history of this country. We visited the Revelstoke train museum and saw in pictures from the past, just how enormous a task it was to create the ‘steel ribbon of rail’ across those mountains to make this a country from sea to sea. Imagine finding the best route through those massive rock barriers without satellite pictures, GPS, airplanes, helicopters, electric tools, gas powered equipment and even communication equipment. The enormity of the job in monitory costs is obvious but much of the human cost in lost life and injury, for the most part, is undocumented especially that of the Chinese labourers who were recruited to work on this project.

After getting through the mountains, we came to the great delta land east of Vancouver City that runs for many miles and is mostly irrigated this time of year or the crops would not do well. Because of rock, water and big inlets from the sea, moving people and goods up and down the coast and across to Victoria and Upper Vancouver Island, it has required huge investments in infrastructure that cities of similar size in Ontario, do not have to deal with. With four and six lane highways leading to ferry docking points, a lot of scheduling for companies delivering products is done around those ferry service schedules. All of this is such a great tribute to the ingenuity of man the inventor/ builder and such a reflection of the stamina and perseverance of our ancestors.

While in Victoria we had the great honour of meeting Dr. Tim Ball, a writer on climate issues in this magazine, who offered us a walking tour of Victoria.   Dr. Ball gave us a running commentary of ‘old and new’ Victoria with  the  historical  facts  presented  in  great detail,  an  expertise  that  he  developed  from years of guiding tour groups all over Europe. Many thanks to Tim for his warm welcome, enthusiastic commentary and excellent lunch with a picturesque view of the harbour.

Getting back to the interior of B.C., we spent some time in the Nichola Valley. Highway 5 runs through it and we stayed in a small town called Merriott, for one night, and travelled out through the countryside from there.  This was once the home of large cattle ranchers.   The corrals are still there and the fencing, but there wasn’t much evidence of a lot of cattle. Depending on who you ask, it would seem that there isn’t much left of the cattle industry even though they had access to huge tracks of crown land for pasture.  The mad cow years with their depressed prices, a long run of low precipitation and the lure of good wages in the modern world, has stripped the area of the next generation of beef producers.

Back in Alberta, drought has reduced pasture and hay supply to the point where ranchers are selling their herds, while they are still worth something.  That means no replacements for at least 3 years folks. With cow numbers already low in North America, and beef prices the highest in history, we can expect a long cycle of very high beef prices.

Politically, Alberta is waiting for the fall-out to begin from the newly elected NDP.  Presently they are about where Ontario was when Bob Rae took over. He unleashed a barrage of legislation that restricted almost every segment of society but especially private property owners. Alberta should expect the same but even faster.  Look for them to be where Ontario is now (bankrupt) in about 2025.

Oh, yes, I am home now and the grass and crops look great – without irrigation – sometimes you have to travel to see how lucky we are at home.

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Touring the west was a great education… (June/July 2015)

june-july-2015-cover
Tom-Black

Tom Black

Hello Folks,

Well Marlene and I just got back from a family wedding in B.C., that we turned into an extended holiday with her brother on the coast. It was a whole new experience for a solid land loving old guy from the east, but what a wonderful eye-opener into the history of this country. We visited the Revelstoke train museum and saw in pictures from the past, just how enormous a task it was to create the ‘steel ribbon of rail’ across those mountains to make this a country from sea to sea. Imagine finding the best route through those massive rock barriers without satellite pictures, GPS, airplanes, helicopters, electric tools, gas powered equipment and even communication equipment. The enormity of the job in monitory costs is obvious but much of the human cost in lost life and injury, for the most part, is undocumented especially that of the Chinese labourers who were recruited to work on this project.

After getting through the mountains, we came to the great delta land east of Vancouver City that runs for many miles and is mostly irrigated this time of year or the crops would not do well. Because of rock, water and big inlets from the sea, moving people and goods up and down the coast and across to Victoria and Upper Vancouver Island, it has required huge investments in infrastructure that cities of similar size in Ontario, do not have to deal with. With four and six lane highways leading to ferry docking points, a lot of scheduling for companies delivering products is done around those ferry service schedules. All of this is such a great tribute to the ingenuity of man the inventor/ builder and such a reflection of the stamina and perseverance of our ancestors.

While in Victoria we had the great honour of meeting Dr. Tim Ball, a writer on climate issues in this magazine, who offered us a walking tour of Victoria.   Dr. Ball gave us a running commentary of ‘old and new’ Victoria with  the  historical  facts  presented  in  great detail,  an  expertise  that  he  developed  from years of guiding tour groups all over Europe. Many thanks to Tim for his warm welcome, enthusiastic commentary and excellent lunch with a picturesque view of the harbour.

Getting back to the interior of B.C., we spent some time in the Nichola Valley. Highway 5 runs through it and we stayed in a small town called Merriott, for one night, and travelled out through the countryside from there.  This was once the home of large cattle ranchers.   The corrals are still there and the fencing, but there wasn’t much evidence of a lot of cattle. Depending on who you ask, it would seem that there isn’t much left of the cattle industry even though they had access to huge tracks of crown land for pasture.  The mad cow years with their depressed prices, a long run of low precipitation and the lure of good wages in the modern world, has stripped the area of the next generation of beef producers.

Back in Alberta, drought has reduced pasture and hay supply to the point where ranchers are selling their herds, while they are still worth something.  That means no replacements for at least 3 years folks. With cow numbers already low in North America, and beef prices the highest in history, we can expect a long cycle of very high beef prices.

Politically, Alberta is waiting for the fall-out to begin from the newly elected NDP.  Presently they are about where Ontario was when Bob Rae took over. He unleashed a barrage of legislation that restricted almost every segment of society but especially private property owners. Alberta should expect the same but even faster.  Look for them to be where Ontario is now (bankrupt) in about 2025.

Oh, yes, I am home now and the grass and crops look great – without irrigation – sometimes you have to travel to see how lucky we are at home.

whats-inside-june-july-2015

Landowner-Magazine-Digital-Banner-Interactive

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