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"The dunes are gone!" says Mrs. Pops. "Bulldozed!"

"Good riddance!" say I. "Now the rich folks on Edith Cavell Boulevard don't have to walk upstairs to see the lake. A lot of those folks have trouble with stairs."

"But what about the sign that Central Elgin put up all about our fragile dune system, and how you have to walk on their special wooden paths so you don't destroy it?"

"Your sign probably got bulldozed too. Those fragile dunes were like welfare cases, coddled by the government and raising our taxes. Finally Central Elgin saw that and sent in those dozers to give it a taste of the real world!" There's nothing worse than a sand hugger.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm calling the Kettle Creek Conservation Authority!" she says.

"Put down the phone!"

"Aren't they supposed to co-manage the beach? Aren't there signs that say that? They need to know about this!"

"If they did have anything to do with the public beach they would have said or done something. Besides the KCCA is way too busy sending out press releases to scare us to death about flooding every time the sun goes behind a cloud. It's all about raising your profile."

"Then this is the perfect opportunity for them to do that, but there's not a peep on their website."

"Maybe because it's none of their business!" She's kind of naïve.

"This bulldozing goes completely against Central Elgin's Dune management Plan!"

"They had a Plan?"

"It's on their website under Reports and Studies. It's all very scientific, saying how the dunes prevent flooding and erosion."

"The geniuses that put in those walkways apparently didn't realize that rainwater flows downhill. Who are you going to believe, a bunch of so-called scientific experts, or the people at Mackies and GT's? Did you know that local dogs head for the dunes like moths to a flame every time they get the urge to make a smelly deposit? Suppose you are chomping down on a wiener at Mackies. You can't see the lake because of the dunes, but just on the other side of the glass there's a golden retriever doing his business! I'm telling you, that weenie is coming back up!" And she still believes in global warning even after the winter we had.

"You think local businesses are responsible for the bulldozing?", she asks.

"Take GT's. Voted the Greatest Beach Bar in the World! And many of those voters were not alcoholic undergrads with nothing else to do. But now, the dunes are so high that these slackers can't even see the lake! How is GT's going to defend their title like that? Thanks to Central Elgin, they can now see the lake; or, after a few too many, two lakes!"

"But I thought Central Elgin was progressive by nature."

"That was way back in 2010. Now they got two candidates for a new motto. One is "Money Talks, Ecology Walks!" Or we could choose "Businesses Rule, Scientists Drool!" Which one would you vote for?

Editor's Note: Pops McKernan is the byline of writer Patrick Harding, author of Splendiferous, which is serialized in our Regional section.

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