Definition of Post-Industrial

What does it mean to be post-industrial? I was walking around one of the Berlin parks this evening, and I was able to wander through the relics of the bygone era—the remnants of industrialization. It was like walking through Stonehenge, with echos of history that don’t make sense in the modern era. While I enjoy the traces of the past, the city itself is still trying to figure out just how to move forward.

Do people miss the mill and that industrial era? I never saw it, but I’ve heard about the heyday of Berlin. It sounds wonderful, and at the same time terrible. How do people feel about the transition that has occurred over the last half-century? Is it better to live in a city with clean air and empty storefronts, or was it better to itch for the weekend to go to camp but have money in your pocket? I’ve heard a lot of nostalgia for the old days; is it real? Given the choice, would residents go back to that?

I wonder if people see the circumstances Berlin faces as a blessing or a curse. True, there are lots of empty houses that occasionally catch on fire, and there are poor people moving in because of the low rents, but there is also a grand history and an infrastructure the city can now leverage in new ways, ways surrounding communities don’t have. The assets of today are the remnants of yesterday. Which era would you rather be in?

4 thoughts on “Definition of Post-Industrial

  1. Health vs. Death any day.Many of the people from the hey days can't reach out to you in this form, Eric. Ah yes…the beautiful memories of handkerchiefs over faces as people congregated downtown. The smell of money…money that you can't take with you upon death. Have you checked into the cancer rate in Berlin? I hear it's difficult to pin point as many end up deceased at Dartmouth.Now… does that mean that biomass is the same thing? Absolutely not. No where near the pollution in the air. But, with residential neighborhoods high on the hills or neighborhoods very close to the smoke stack, we may see what EFSEC thinks about "acceptable emissions" provided an application is submitted by Laidlaw. Additionally, we'll see if the noise pollution, emissions, back up beepers of an 18 wheeler coming in or out of the Laidlaw facility approx. every six minutes passes the carbon neutrality test, the sustainability test, the road wear test, the people test. From what I understand the Fraser mill brought in a lot of its wood from Canada by rail (much higher value of logs than for chips allowed for the economically feasible transportation by rail) which would have eliminated 42 tractor trailer loads per rail delivery on average from what I've researched. Laidlaw has admitted they are not considering rail delivery immediately. Economics of transporting chips via rail through the mountains to Laidlaw doesn't allow for successful profit making as no one is willing to pay enough for chips. In that sense, this new industry in the middle of the city known as Laidlaw increases traffic dramatically at a significant cost to noise pollution where Clean Power deliveries would be on the outskirts of the city and no where near as many deliveries made. The city really needs to get a grasp on the effects this could have on the city as a more industrialized impact on the city streets than the mill ever had. Data to compare Fraser's truck travel vs. Laidlaw's is imperative especially in light of the fact that the city has applied for a grant to repave city streets and commit to $650,000 maintenance program in which tractor trailers are your highest road wear and tear users. Jon

  2. This does not mean that we should forget about our heritage and hard working citizens that got us to where we are now. What it means is that we need to evaluate the choices we have to move forward with both industry and recreation and understand that where quality of life is threatened, we need to first understand the impact before we can move forward appropriately. This holds not only true for biomass, but the impact motorized recreation can have as it grows. Noise from these vehicles and liability will rear its head after it is implemented as always happens due to the fact that virtually no one attends council meetings where these decisions are made. All the more reason to also speak with Mr. Northrup who sold the Ellicotteville mill to Laidlaw, and sells electric ATV's.What a coincidence to some of our biggest concerns. jon

  3. I was born in Berlin 72 years ago on Spruce street when that area of the City was called Ramsey Hill. In 1941 when I was 4 my folks moved to Enman Hill and where I grew up during a time when Berlin had the worse air pollution in the State. There's no question in my mind that my health reflects those horrible conditions of flyash from the Brown Company boilers burning coal, turning snow black within 24 hours. The green plumes of chlorine making us wheeze and cough when we played hockey at Allen's rink where Hutchins Street park is now located. I think of those days when I take my medication for asthma and puff on my inhaler because I struggle to breath. Yes my dad had a good job at the mill, I never went without food or clothing, but we paid a serious price for that financial security. I would never want to go back and live in those polluted conditions, if I had kids and that happened again, I would move away from Berlin and maybe do like many did back then, chose to live in Gorham. These were not the "good old days", these were the days when men sold their souls to the company store while trading their health and that of their families for the security of a paycheck. We tolerated these horrible conditions in part because we didn't know any better, the smell of money and the damage to our health would not show up for 30 to 50 years later. The Ultra Fine Particulate Matter that will be invisible from the Laidlaw stack will also lodge itself in our kids lungs where it will incubate much like asbestos for years and become lethal. We need to make sure that this health threat is addressed during the EFSEC Process. Personally, I don't want Berlin to return to the conditions that remind me of those "good old days".

  4. It is quite simple really. Heavy industry does not belong in the middle of any City, including Berlin. It is too bad that dirty politicians and people with a lack of vision are steering us back into the past with LLEG. Our children will pay the price of this ignorance and greed.

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