From: Darren D. MacDonald, thenorthbaybay.ca staff
NORTH BAY – If there is anything you can count on in North Bay, it’s the four seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring and Construction. It’s a joke as old as construction itself, but City Council has some thinking they are taking it too far.
On August 30th, 2019, North Bay City Council filed for a copyright claim on “detours,” claiming that while they did not invent the art of the detour, they had, in fact, perfected it.
“We understand how it looks,” says City Councillor Vic Tikus, holding an early morning press conference in the middle of the Cassells construction. “It looks like we are greedy, like we are in it for the money. But it’s much more than that. It’s about standing up for what is ours. It’s about standing up for what is truly the North Bay way: months long inconveniences, every year, without exception. That’s something we should be proud of.”
The move has some local support.
“This isn’t a joke to us,” says local advocate John Cornwall. “These detours are serious business. They keep the fine men and woman on these construction sites safe, and that’s something that I support.”
Since filing the copyright claim, City Council has begun targeting other cities offering detours.
“To think that another town will have detours is awful,” says Cornwall. “Their detours could create a detour shortage for us! Unimaginable. It’s eat or be eaten with these types of things.”
Damaging to the Industry
Not everyone is on board with this move, calling it “delayed and inconvenient highway robbery” and a dangerous precedent for the future of construction and the evolution of detour technology.
“I think this is going to be damaging to the industry,” explains Ken Islam, local Stop/Slow Sign Holder expert. “This is short sighted. Unless North Bay wants to invest in the future of detours, they are holding up the industry that they rely on so much. And to be honest with you, I don’t thick Vic Tikus or this City have the money or the brains to advance the detour art.”
“It’s a shameless money grab,” explains Detour Statistical Analyzer Edna Brown. “That’s it. (City Council) don’t care about detours. Look at the level of rudimentary detours they rely on. Going at the rate of construction North Bay is in, by 10 years the city will be 60% construction. The same detours we are using won’t offer the freedom of stops or waits, and if you have a low Det-Time, or detour time, then you may as well go back to a horse and carriage, or back to living in the stone ages.”
Still, Council stands by its decision, claiming it is for the greater good of the city. But only time, and the courts, will decide whether the outcome will favour them, or will end up being another round of what North Bay City Hall does best: waste a lot of time and/or money.