Don Thurston Blog

Readers will recall that three Billy Goat Gruffs annually migrated from their wintering grounds to summer grazing areas.  The journey was dangerous in that Trolls frequented a bridge on the trail to the Goat’s summer habitat. Trolls are very fond of goat meat and would emerge from their lair below the bridge, accost the travelers, intending to make them their morning meal. Through chicanery, this was avoided and one by one the Goats proceeded safely onward.

In decades gone by, fording the swiftly flowing river was the only available alternative, often leading to Billy Goat Gruffs being swept away. In due course rafts and boats were available, followed by a cable ferry and eventually a bridge. The Trolls ceased the opportunity, took up living under the bridge and from there confronting the goats.

Migratory bridge traffic over the past four decades has increased at an annual rate of seventeen percent. An aging structure, traffic increases and added anti-troll security have left the structure in need of repair or replacement.

Lesson learned…..Billy Goat Gruff Nation, now faces significant expenditures to remediate or replace the bridge.  Estimates indicate construction costs will exceed traditional sources of annual city revenues, leaving debt financing as one alternative.

A citizen’s group has been convened to address the bridge issue. Broader considerations are to be given to the need for similar community based initiatives.

William Goat lead off……a new bridge is needed by the Nation’s citizens.  Apart from the clear economic benefits a shared resource such as the bridge ties the community together. A lack of such a facility will cause isolation, limiting inclusion and belonging

The shared resources concept caught Patricia Goat’s attention. She asked what shared resources are and what some examples are. A lengthy conversation ensued producing a tentative list including roads, airports, communications, railways, waste management, water, sewer and parks. A broader definition captures schools, hospitals, arts and legal systems. On an even broader scale shared resources includes intellectual property, and environment.

Subsequent conversations were wide spread and often argumentative. Straw polls indicate that that shared resources are just that and that all citizens must be included in the sharing model.

Coincidentally word is filtering in that the distant city of Strait is in great distress. Following many years of neglecting commons and shared resources plus a profound economic downturn, the center and area is becoming unlivable. This lesson is not lost on all Billy Goats as civic plans are formulated.

Long term financing remains a major obstacle. Solvable certainly, requiring resolve, creativity and long term thinking.

One issue was agreed on…..the bridge will not be a Troll Bridge.