Mov­ing crane eas­ier said than done


A crane is “a large, tall ma­chine used for mov­ing heavy ob­jects, typ­i­cally by sus­pend­ing them from a pro­ject­ing arm or beam,” ac­cord­ing to our Dash­board dic­tio­nary.

We’ve seen these ma­chines in ac­tion, do­ing ev­ery­thing from lift­ing and mov­ing large steeples from churches and boats in and out of the wa­ter to mov­ing houses from one foun­da­tion to an­other.

When­ever they are en­gaged in such tasks, they usu­ally at­tract cu­ri­ous on­look­ers, who marvel at the ma­chine’s abil­ity to pick up such heavy ob­jects as if they were toys.

While cranes are pow­er­ful ma­chines, they are also known to be slow mov­ing. But ap­par­ently not as slow as the gov­ern­ment bu­reau­cra­cies it takes to move a crane it­self when it be­comes a “pub­lic eye­sore.”

One of these ma­chines has been at­tract­ing more than its fair share of pub­lic at­ten­tion, not by its ac­tions, but by its in­ert and prom­i­nent perch over­look­ing the busy Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial High­way at the south en­trance to Car­bon­ear.

The orange crane would be dif­fi­cult to miss as you en­ter or exit the town.

The trav­el­ling pub­lic has been com­plain­ing to the Car­bon­ear Town Coun­cil about what they con­sider to be an “eye­sore.”

Coun­cil has come un­der in­creas­ing fire to have it re­moved from pub­lic view.

But what’s that old say­ing? “ One man’s garbage is an­other man’s gold.”

In this case, per­haps not sur­pris­ingly, one of those who doesn’t view the crane as an “eye­sore” hap­pens to be its owner.

He doesn’t un­der­stand what point coun­cil is try­ing to make in hav­ing it re­moved. While he ac­knowl­edges some peo­ple have called it an “eye­sore,” in his opin­ion, “ it’s not both­er­ing any­one.”

But if that were the case, why are so many peo­ple voic­ing their con­cerns and com­plaints about it to the town coun­cil?

In re­sponse to a coun­cil or­der to have the crane re­moved from the site, the owner has firmly dug in his heels and ap­pealed the or­der.

Un­til the East­ern Re­gional Ap­peals Board can hear both sides of the case and is­sue its rul­ing, the town’s hands are tied from tak­ing any fur­ther ac­tion. That process could drag on for months.

The prov­ince does have rules and reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing the place­ment of sig­nage and aban­doned ve­hi­cles along our high­ways. And Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial is part of the pro­vin­cial high­way sys­tem.

Re­mem­ber the lit­tle yel­low Volk­swa­gen bug that once ‘adorned’ a prom­i­nent place off the Trans Canada High­way out­side St. John’s? Even­tu­ally the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment had it re­moved.

In this case, should the ap­peals board rule in favour of the crane owner and against the town, it may take a higher au­thor­ity, such as the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to have the crane moved.

But with pub­lic pres­sure mount­ing, there is lit­tle doubt this is­sue is go­ing to be re­solved per­haps sooner rather than later.

Mean­while it was en­cour­ag­ing to learn last week the crane owner has ac­qui­esced to a sep­a­rate coun­cil or­der to fence off his prop­erty along Highroad South and CHVO Drive. The site con­tains sev­eral ve­hi­cle wrecks and pieces of equip­ment in var­i­ous states of dis­re­pair. The pur­pose of the pro­posed en­clo­sure is to hide the site from pub­lic view.

The Sad­dle Hill sec­tion of Highroad South and CHVO Drive, which con­nects it to the Old Car­bon­ear Road to­wards Har­bour Grace, is not nearly as busy as Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial.

If the peo­ple who fre­quent the main high­way and com­plain about the crane could only see the prop­erty from the other ( Sad­dle Hill) side, per­haps they would re­ally have some­thing to com­plain about. And pub­lic pres­sure on the town and prop­erty owner might be so in­tense, they would have no choice but to take ac­tion sooner rather than later.

Those who want to see the crane re­moved want it gone yes­ter­day.

For the sake of those who con­sider the site to be an “eye­sore,” let’s hope Coun­cil­lor David Kennedy is wrong when he sug­gests, “ we’ll be look­ing at that thing up there for the rest of our lives.”

Those who fre­quent the Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial and are al­ready tired of look­ing at it, are not pre­pared to wait that long.

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