Everything’s temporary

Electricity price hikes, sea wall reports and semi-permanent traffic lights are all hot topics for our island friend in his writings this month. What will cousin Eugene make of it all?

(Illustration by Peewee)
(Illustration by Peewee)

Electricity price hikes, sea wall reports and semi-permanent traffic lights are all hot topics for our island friend in his writings this month. What will cousin Eugene make of it all?

CHER Eugene,

You know there’s all these deputies saying the States need to control their expenditure, mon viaer?

Well, they’re making sure we can’t control our own, that’s for sure. They’re putting up prices like there’s no tomorrow, them. Jack Torode says they won’t have a tomorrow as States members if they keep on like it, eh?

The latest is the electric, Eugene. It’s going up nearly 10% – and that’s a hang of a lot, eh? The electricity board say it’s because that cable to France is broken, so they have to generate on the island and that’s more expensive. But in the Press it said the cable is 28 years old and it’s only supposed to last 25, so they shouldn’t be surprised, them, eh?

They’re talking about putting a new cable direct to France, but they don’t want to depend on other countries so they’ve just spent money putting in a big new generator. But that relies on oil prices and ship deliveries, eh? I said to Jack, if they want reliability they should be looking at tidal power. After all, the tides are guaranteed for more than 25 years, they don’t rely on anyone else and they can’t break or get turned off, eh?

Mind you, they haven’t got a good track record there either, mon viaer. They even managed to lose money when they invested in a tidal energy company, eh?

Talking of tides, the States have just paid some consultants £105,000 for a report that says the sea walls need to be reinforced to cope with future weather and rising tides.

Caw, they wouldn’t need to put prices up so much if they didn’t waste money on reports that state the bloney obvious, eh? And there was a report done only five years ago that said exactly the same thing. This one says work needs to be done over the next 20 years, so when you think, that’s time for another four reports, Eugene. Perhaps the States are hoping one of them will say the tides are going down, eh?

The report says work should be done to Rocquaine and L’Eree fairly soon, but the States could just let the wall to Pembroke fall down and leave L’Ancresse to flood. Well, you know Bert, mon viaer, he’s an habitant du Clos du Valle, him. He said it must be someone from St Peter’s who did the report. Or someone who watched the water polo in the Olympics and thought Guernsey could be champions in water golf in a few years, eh?

The consultants said the wall to Pembroke wasn’t built as a sea defence, it was an anti-tank wall, but like Bert says, it doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s done a pretty good job. He said if Rocquaine and L’Eree had had anti-tank walls they might not need so much work now, eh?

I said perhaps the electric could build turbines into the walls when they repair them. With the storms that hit the west coast in the winter, that could generate a few watts, eh?

I don’t know if the report said anything about flooding in Town, Eugene, but when you think, there’s one department that monitors rainfall and that’s the Water Board, eh? And they’ve just moved from the Town seafront up to Best’s Brickfield. Perhaps they know something they’re not telling, eh?

The lads to the slip, they couldn’t see why the States ask UK consultants when they want to know about the tides and weather in Guernsey and how to build granite walls. After all, who built most of them in the first place, eh? But this States are the same as the last ones, Eugene. They seem to think UK people are always better than locals. In a few years’ time there’ll probably be a load of English workers brought in, driving English tractors, to do work on Guernsey’s sea walls, eh?

There’s already been a fuss about English firms used on States contracts, because some have gone bust and left locals having to pick up the tab.

And that firm that’s running the buses has had a lot of flak as well, Eugene. There’s people saying some of the drivers can’t speak English, they keep getting lost and sometimes the passengers even have to tell them the routes, eh?

You remember in the old days, when visitors used to get lost in their hire cars, we’d tell them to keep going and in the end they’d come to the coast? I wonder if people who live on the coast have noticed an increased frequency in their buses, eh?

Jack said the bus drivers could ask the tractor drivers, but they only know one route as well, them. I told you the Environment put temporary traffic lights to Bulwer Avenue for all the English tractors coming from Longue Hougue? Well, they’ve decided now they’re going to change the temporary lights into semi-permanent ones. I don’t know what they mean by semi-permanent, mon viaer. Perhaps it’s like a cable link, or what that regulator says are only temporary electricity rises. Jack said it’s the name the Education give to some of their management posts, eh?

Bert said it was typical States, putting in a solution to a problem that didn’t exist and causing a new problem that wasn’t there before. He said it will be like those lights to Admiral Park; they were put there as an experiment, but everyone knew they’d end up permanent. And now there’s queues along the front that were never there before, eh?

There’s one deputy wants another experiment now, Eugene.

He’s put a requete to let all the shops open on a Sunday, for a year’s trial. Caw, the old States debated that enough times, you’d think the new ones had more important things to deal with, eh? Jack said it’s funny the deputy wants the experiment to start on 1 December, instead of January or February. He said it couldn’t be anything to do with that English supermarket that’s come here wanting to make more money before Christmas, eh?

Talking about experiments, I don’t know if you heard about those ones who stole a dinghy a few weeks ago and then got into trouble and had to be rescued?

Perhaps it’s an experiment in this restorative justice, or whatever it’s called, but all the police did was give them a caution and let them go, eh?

The lads to the slip, they were saying if they’d taken a police car and gone for a ride there’d be a different reaction, probably involving an armed response, eh?

They said at least they should be made to pay for the fuel, or do some community work like clearing the cliff paths or something. Mick said if they’re that interested in boats, he could give them some work: stripping paint and antifouling, eh?

A la perchoine,

Your cousin, Emile.