Forest spat of mythical proportions
To the Editor,
The present spat between Haliburton Forest and Dysart council has all the elements of classical tragedy. A mortal human being takes on the challenge to build a stage for theatre at a unique site where the setting sun in late August coincides with the conventional curtain-up time of 8 p.m. Not only that, but orchestras are accommodated on a floating stage with attendant kayakers and swimmers.
The logistical challenge of transporting the ever-increasing audiences to and from the site through rugged Haliburton Highlands countryside are met with success but the ever-present need for cooperation with the Gods who actually control the threat of storms remains.
Mostly, they are cooperative and we hide their threats behind the three letters in weather forecasts of p.o.p. but in one year, these Gods cause cold and rain to be repeated night after night and, in order to satisfy the theatrical demand that “the show must go on,” secondary shelters have to be used.
But the laws of the land that have been created by other mortal human beings dictate that this is illegal. As the Greek hero Achilles was let down by his untreated heel, so is our modern stage builder let down by inadequately fulfilling the legal requirements.
I see the tragedy extending to include the cadres of volunteers who have helped the shows go on, especially those who helped the paying audiences get their shows on those wet and cold nights. Also, I extend the tragedy to the contrast whereby our stage builder has, in his own words “pushed the limits” and built a festival that has attracted paying audiences coming from considerable distances.
The downside of this contrast is to observe on our Main Streets, so many blank storefronts with “For Rent” signs. Perhaps at some stage, he will join the ranks of Hero.