Not coping, but sinking

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From Peter Double.

WITH reference to your headline of 9 February, ‘Population: We could cope with 100,000’, the Chief Minister admits that a 100,000 population is not currently sustainable.

But surely in order for it to become sustainable, even over a period of time, there would need to be a whole raft of costs to consider. Medical care, for a start.

The General Hospital is alrea-dy overstretched. Will it be able to ‘cope’? Will the education system be able to ‘cope’? What about the sewage system. Can it ‘cope’ at its present capacity?

It might also be worth having a guess at which valley Jersey Wat-er would want to flood next in order to ‘cope’. And no doubt the proposed incinerator is designed to ‘cope’, despite the fact that it is going to be out of date before it’s built.

But what will be more beneficial — spending huge amounts of money on major projects in order to meet the demands of an increased population or capping the population and imposing tax increases and a longer work span on the working population?

The Chief Minister is inclined to use the latter as a threat rather than an option, but those are the choices we have, and frankly I think the latter is the better choice — if only to sustain Jersey as a place worth living in.

The question has to be asked. If capping is not regarded as good politics, what happens, no matter how long it takes, when the population reaches 100,000? Anyone who believes that the population figure will come to a lurching halt at 100,000 also believes that streaky bacon is aerodynamic.

Do we change our political stance and cap the new population level or do we continue the policy we’ve had since the 1950s — take the view that ‘the only way is up’ and, in time, decide that the Island can reasonably ‘cope’ with 150,000?

The Old Coach House,

Oxenford Close,

St Lawrence.

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