BEPPLE – Government is like sweeping a floor: take care of the edges first

(Images: Nancy Bepple)

MY GRANDMOTHER ALWAYS SAID, when you’re sweeping a floor, you should sweep the edges and the corners first.  Leave the large centre until last.

She would tell me take care of the small things, and the big things would take care of themselves. Which is what I was thinking about when I was having tea with a neighbor this week.

As is often the case, we got talking about the running of the City, or more particularly what wasn’t working so well.  With all the delays in traffic on West Victoria Street due to the construction, you might have thought that traffic delays were top of the list.  But that wasn’t even close.

First up were the storm drains.  At the end of our street is a drain that is often plugged.  My neighbor trudges down regularly to clear it.  Thank goodness, because after this week’s strong rains, if it hadn’t been cleared, the bottom of the road would be flooded again, as it does regularly after a heavy rain when the drain is blocked.

My neighbor said bluntly, why can’t the City be the one trudging down to clear the drain. Especially since they know about the flooding that happens every time there’s a strong downpour.

Near the storm drain, a row of trees are growing out of the sidewalk’s edge.  They have been growing happily in the concrete for a few years. No one seems to mind, except that once the trees get to a certain size, they’ll probably break the cement.  It might be time to cut them down. Like my grandmother said, take care of the small things.

Then, as if winter was already here, my neighbor and I both commiserated that once the snow comes we’d be stuck in the back alley.  The windrow from the snowplow has blocked us both in on more than one occasion.

But before winter comes, we’re hoping the large potholes in the alley get graded.  The City has a street pothole crew that does a great job on the main roads.  I wonder if there will ever be one for the alleys too.

All in all, looking at the devastation of places like the Bahamas, hammered by Category 5 tropical storm Dorian, those trees in sidewalks, windrows at alleys, and blocked storm drains are all the small stuff.  If none of them got fixed, Kamloops would still be an amazing place to be.

Politicians like to make announcements about new multi-million dollar upgrades of some major road or sporting facility.  But just once in a while, it would be great to hear an announcement, not about the big projects, like West Victoria Street, but an announcement about a project to tackle the little things by the City of Kamloops.

My grandmother taught me how to sweep a floor about 50 years ago, and her lesson has stuck with me. I still think we should still be looking after the small stuff first.

Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.

About Mel Rothenburger (7708 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on BEPPLE – Government is like sweeping a floor: take care of the edges first

  1. Today Nancy you were bang on!

    This year I have noticed weeds everywhere in pavement and cement cracks! Clogging drains and making neighbourhoods unsightly. Especially on the North Shore road allowances. (the 2 or 3 foot space along the road that belongs to the city, that both homeowners and city ignore. I ride my bike along the Rivers Trail and I see Chinese Elm weed trees sprouting EVERYWHERE! Once Chinese Elm takes hold they’re impossible to pull out. They propagate like crazy! Kelowna has designated them a WEED tree. No so here!

    Said Rivers Trail along Schubert Drive is an accident waiting to happen with tree roots pushing up the uneven paved trail.

  2. Yes the little things. They are so important because a collection of little things make up one big thing. I remember when you were a councillor and I remember bringing a whole bunch
    of little things, from plugged catch basins to trees growing in roads cracks, to your attention and I remember you scoffing at that. But the moral is, nothing has changed and the little things are getting neglected and the big thing, which is the bloated leviathan called the City of Kamloops is getting bigger and bigger more preoccupied with its own well-being and less preoccupied with the little things.

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