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.