Yes is always (eventually) the answer

It seems that, whenever a significant construction or infrastructure project (dare I say “megaproject”?) is proposed to government, city planners, or (occasionally) the public, it is only a matter of time before it is approved. Such ideas never seem to be rejected once and for all. I’ve seen it happen many times: from the SkyDome in Toronto, which everyone knew was going to be a white elephant, to the RAV Line, the “Gateway Project,” the soccer stadium, and now the “big box store on Marine Drive” issues in Vancouver. Despite often solid evidence against, debates and votes are held on these issues until a “yes” result is obtained, and then voting stops and the project goes ahead. Those who stand to profit appear simply to bide their time until the political situation aligns in their favour, or else everyone tires of the repeated debates and changes their mind simply to get on to the next issue. Why is it that we always stop at “yes,” even after repeated “no” results? Is it that we have a fixation on “positive thinking”? Couldn’t we at least have a best-of-seven vote-off? In our society, we seemed doomed to go ahead with a project once it has been proposed.

[After I wrote this entry I thought it would make a nifty letter to the editor; I submitted it to the Vancouver Sun and it was published in slightly edited form on Thursday, July 27.]

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