Archive for May, 2010

Cape Breton – Elizabeth Bishop

I was reading the Complete Works of poet Elizabeth Bishop last night, and was struck again with how perfect Bishop’s poem “Cape Breton” captures what I always thought construction season must have been like on the island during mid-century (and I thought about that quite a bit while I was writing my thesis). In the poem, the construction of the coastal road, abandoned on Sunday, serves to enhance the mystery of the interior. It’s all ocean and hill and mist and road and then a little bus rolls down the dusty road packed with people going about their Sunday business (including “today only two preachers extra, one carrying his frock coat on a
hanger”).

The entire poem is after the jump: Continue reading ‘Cape Breton – Elizabeth Bishop’

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Conflicting Conservations?

Wind Turbing in Pubnico, NS. Photo c. Andrew d'Entremont, used under Creative Commons license

One of the topics we addressed a few times over in my landscape architecture classes this year is the issue of our current landscape values and how new technologies may conflict with them. This was again brought to mind for me this week when I saw two news reports on the CBC – one announcing Nova Scotia’s latest commitment to renewable energy, and the other out of Lunenburg about the conflict between heritage planning values and energy conservation values.

A couple in Lunenburg want to put solar panels on their roof; this is against against Lunenburg’s heritage conservation bylaws, which are designed to preserve the town’s internationally recognized historical landscape.   It’s a conflict that we might see a lot more of in the coming years, particularly if the province’s new energy initiative has tangible results. Do solar panels work against the integrity of heritage landscapes? Are wind turbines an ugly blight on our landscape, a utilitarian sight that is merely acceptable, or an icon of sustainability and therefore, potentially, attractive? And if our landscape and coastline is transformed by these new energy endeavours, how are we going to reconcile it to our own vision of what Nova Scotia’s landscape looks like, as well as with our current tourism approach?