15 Sep 2008, Comments Off on Bullshit generates Methane

Bullshit generates Methane

Author: Helen

You’re all familiar with the populist narrative that greenies and lefties are all out-of-touch elites who like to “sneer at” ordinary (suburban, small-town) people. (Current example: the Sarah Palin campaign vs. the elitist, arugula latte-drinking Obama). It’s so popular in Australia at the moment, you can hardly open a newspaper without being scolded for daring to suggest that the way we build our cities, and travel around them, could possibly be improved. Public transport is a concern for upper middle-class wankers; Real people love their cars so much, they don’t care that they’re trapped into using them. As for the price of fuel, well, er… something will come along, don’t worry.

As for not building great swathes of housing development, inappropriately sited, overlarge, artificially cooled and out of reach of train or tram lines, that’s just those greeny lefty elites forcing their elitist concerns on the Real People again. Real People want big houses and they want them to look Tuscan and have no eaves and anyone who wants to take that dream away from them is just an over-educated latte-sipping poopyhead. Development good, conservation – and re-thinking our ways of building and getting around – bad.

This view is as popular in Labor and certain self-identified “left” groups as it is in Liberal and right-leaning groups.

I do wonder whether the deep and abiding love for Tuscan-style villas built to the fenceline isn’t the product of lavish and expertly targeted marketing rather than something deep in the Australian soul, and such marketing couldn’t have created an equally enthusiastic market for more appropriate housing, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Last week, an entire suburb was evacuated because the developer had built on land next to a landfill containing methane gas. The developer chose to build on the land to make money, and probably got the land at a bargain price because of the proximity to landfill. The council which owned and operated the landfill first opposed building so close to the area, as did the toothless Environment Protection Authority, but the developer went to VCAT. The bureaucrats at VCAT overturned the opposition and now we have a complete dog’s breakfast out at Cranbourne. None of these entities are from the greenie left. They represent the “hooray, development!” mentality.

This is a disaster. Without warning, these people have had to pack up their houses and find accommodation for themselves and their young children for an indeterminate period. If and when they’re allowed to return, their houses may be worthless. Many of them are walking a financial tightrope already and this will send them to the wall.

Cranbourne and Casey have been a byword for urban sprawl for years. We’ve had item after news item about the lack of infrastructure, social isolation and car dependence, debt, poverty and disadvantage. It’s time the boosters of road-based suburban sprawl admitted the problems with this social model. The methane problem is acute, but the problems of this area are chronic.

I wonder how deeply these non-elitist, non-green, pro-development business suits and bureaucrats care about the people in that suburb. Let’s call this Roveian anti-elitism for what it is: an excuse for governments to neglect infrastructure and due process and private companies to extract maximum profits from the “ordinary Australians” they’re supposed to represent, and then move on. They are the out of touch elites.
 
 
 
Crossposted at Road to Surfdom

Comments (0)

  • Don’t get me started about VCAT. The last case in my neighbourhood to go before the tribunal was a developer versus the council and the rest of the neighbourhood. Good old city of Yarra sent the work experience kid (relatively speaking) while the developer paid over $30,000 for a specialist lawyer and a “heritage study”. Can you guess who won?

  • Meself says:

    Two words that will heard a lot out Cranbourne way.

    ‘Class action’.

    What the Goths and Vandals couldn’t achieve in their age, VCAT will in ours.

    You lie down with VCAT, developers and those with snouts in troughs and you get up with methane.

    (The upside of all this might be that the citizens of Cranbourne might think twice before lighting up a Benson and Hedges Super Mild.)

  • Meself says:

    another outspoken female.

    Same with our less than fully functional Moonee Valley Council.

    Sent the tea lady’s assistant to take on the developer’s QC.

    Not the same development, but guess where a MVCC planning officer immediately took up employment upon resigning.

    Surely not with the developers who planning application said council employee was overseeing?!!

  • Hattie says:

    Take a look at the damage caused by Ike on Galveston Island for an example of development gone crazy and then trashed by nature.
    We ought to think about controlling our numbers, too.
    McCain is horrible; McCain-Palin is a nightmare.

  • […] Observer at The Glass Wall notes that women are still considered less worthy by Old Boy’s Clubs. Helen at the Cast Iron Balcony discusses those damn latte sipping liberals. Let’s call this Roveian anti-elitism for what it is: an excuse for governments to neglect infrastructure and due process and private companies to extract maximum profits from the “ordinary Australians” they’re supposed to represent, and then move on. They are the out of touch elites. […]

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