The SimNational Highway project has had an unexpected benefit for me.
I've enjoyed my yachting lifestyle in Kelly Bay, but the commute Spankton is long and during peak can be very crowded, and it's really having a major impact on my quality of life.
Well imagine my delight when I heard that Boston is building it's very first water-front living estate, just a little north and with easy access to the new highway (when it's done). I contacted the number in the advert and two days later this brochure arrived, showing me the new estate, where it's located, pricing, the available releases... although they haven't specified the actual lots yet but it says that's only months away from approval and I can buy right off the plan.
The area being developed in a small bay north of here, I think it used to be called Mudgrove but they're renaming it to Skipper Bay. Probably a good marketing decision.
The brochure's very nice - I really hope this is as good as it looks because with the third pay-rise I got recently I've got a lot of expendable cash and to be honest its quite a drag trying to figure out new things to spend it on. A nice big house, a yacht, and my own mooring would be just delightful.
Decent prices, but that's always for some battle-axe block stuck in the middle of the main turn-off or something... we'll see what the average house and land package is worth.
I particularly like this one. The Silbermann. There are a lot of nice ones, but this one just says "I'm a pompous twat with too much money" and that's just exactly the message I'm going for.
All my friends at the country club are gonna be so jealous.
Skipper Bay was a direct result of the SimNational Highways Project bringing the region together, making travel time shorter, and in essence making Boston smaller. This meant that a drive from the CBD to what used to be a remote area was now a short and easy drive down the highway, which really opened up a world of opportunities for developers.
The first of these opportunities to be really noticeably taken advantage of, was Skipper Bay... Boston's first canal water-front living estate.
Built on an area previously dominated by farmland, Skipper Bay was to completely transform these flats into a thriving high-wealth retreat.
In turn this would prove a boon for the local community as far as commerce and probably industry was concerned, so approval for the project was short-tracked, and marketing material was distributed in accordance with the release plan. The entire project would be released in two releases, the first being the mouth of the canal network, "Skipper Island" commercial district, and the southern-most section of canals. The second release would come some years later, and involve a second hill-top commercial district and the northern-most canal networks. The entire project would cover an area almost 6 square kilometers.
The first release was approximately half this, and would be available to build on just as the highway itself to the area was due for completion.
Step 1, as always, is the resumption of properties. Since most of these were farms, this was a reasonably inexpensive process for the developers.
The only thing left undemolished at the end of this phase was the road itself, as it was the only coastal means of travel north and south, without a VERY long detour a few kilometers to the west.
This was important, and was one of the conditions imposed by council. The new road must be fully in place before this old one can be demolished. This posed a few challenges for the developer, but none that money and good engineers and urban planners couldn't get over.
Boston's Highway Project was much the way to being completed by the end of September, 1991... but still had a long way to go.
Nevertheless much of it was now open to public use, and the sims of Boston were quick to take up the advantage of such a marvellous piece of infrastructure.
Sims in South Central Boston were now connected directly with the northern parts of Sound Way, by an intersection located just on the western edges of Blattvale.
The highway didn't yet connect with the southern part which wrapped all the way around Kelly Bay's west, but it was only about a year away from being complete, and the main roads still cleanly connected these two pieces of highway, allowing an interrupted but still vastly faster means of traveling between the central and southern parts of Boston City.
Translation: Resident Sims from distant suburbs are traveling into Boston South Central to work - via the new highway.
Translation: Resident Sims in Boston South Central are using the new highway to travel vast distances to other more remote parts of Boston City.
The sims of Boston are voting with their feet (and cars, and bikes, and skateboards) - the highways are a massive success story, and they haven't even finished being built yet.
This can only mean one thing - Boston is about to enter a Golden Era of growth and prosperity.
Franklin State Forest - declared a protected State Forest in 1910, is facing a growing tide of problems that are forcing governments to re-think their strategy for this land.
In 1910 the SimNational Government with the recommendation of the then Boston Shire Council declared a small 1 square kilometer patch of native coniferous forest as a State Forest. This effectively prevented development of this land, but also prevented sims from taking or altering it in any way, or trapping, hunting or otherwise infringing on the habitat of the native fauna.
At the time this was a noble gesture on behalf of the Boston Shire Council, and one which made everyone feel all warm and fuzzy. Aww... hugz?
Franklin State Forest - circa 1920 g.y.
However as time went on and Boston rapidly spread, this little pocket of no-go-zone quickly became isolated in a sea of human "improvement".
Franklin State Forest - circa 1973 g.y.
To combat the impact this was having on native wildlife in the State Forest, during the 60's, 70's and 80's Boston City Council had allocated a "wildlife corridor" which stretched to the west to the river, and beyond that to the undeveloped wilderness that the city had at that time not affected.
Franklin State Forest - 1991 g.y.
By the early 1980's however this had been undercut steadilly by this little proposal here, that little bribe there, this little government scandal here, that little forest fire there, until eventually the wildlife corridor had completely been consumed by human greed and development, utterly isolating Franklin State Forest and any hope that the wildlife there had to escape.
This was made worse by the fact that in its infinite wisdom the governments of the day had defined a rediculously small area as state forest, so that even a drunk squirrel with only three working legs and missing tail could still wander from one end of the forest to the other in a day or so... making it simply too small to support any wildlife for any real conservation purposes.
The road-kill in the surrounding suburbia (and later on the major 4-lane avenue) was testament to the horrible mistake that had been made trying to isolate and preserve nature in such a small prison.
Whereas once Franklin State Forest had been host to a myriad of native animals, like the South-Eastern Hay-Face Llama:
South-Eastern Hay-Face Llama - "Llamarus Hayfacii"
... and was a beautiful living showpiece of the native flora of the time:
Franklin State Forest as it was in the 1920's to 1940's
Now traffic, isolation, and a shrinking gene pool have made the larger animals in Franklin State Forest all but dissapeared, and humanity has brought with it a new threat:
SpiderLegs - "Bigbadass infestimuch"
The introduced climbing plant "Spiderlegs" (Bigbadass infestimuch) was well suited to the climate. With the native environment's lack of controls (such as insects and disease), Spiderlegs quickly took over much of the surrounding forest. In particular Franklin State Forest where human interference and pollution stressed the forest to the point that it could not compete with the introduced climber.
As a result, Spiderlegs became so prolific that it actually blocked out sunlight and quickly stifled new seedlings and under-canopy trees, quickly leading to Franklin State Forest becoming even more devoid of life than it was before.
Spiderlegs infestation near a walking track in Franklin State Forest - 1987 g.y.
So Boston City Council had little choice but to recommend a drastic approach to Franklin State Forest, which was clearly failing (with no hope for change) to act as a naturally preserved sample of the previous glory that was the native forests.
The Federal Government and Boston City Council had a series of long public discussions, to determine what should be done.
* Converting Franklin State Forest into a grand central park.
* Spending hundreds of millions of simoleans removing Spiderlegs, fencing the zone off completely from the public, and operating it as a sort of "zoo" with isolated walkways and staff and huge maintenance costs (everyone got nervous at this idea, as it was a lot more expensive than just naming an area protected).
* Developing Franklin State Forest as an eco-resort or as a huge new botanical gardens, and rezoning a new and much, much larger area as state forest much further out of town.
Public input was invited before any decision was made.
So... public... what do you think?
I am Samantha.
I am four and a half years old.
I like blue and chickens and my favorite chicken is Betsy because she is round.
This is where I live. My town is called Whatstha. It is very pretty.
Come on I'll show you!
This is Whatstha Point.
I live here but my Mummy doesn't.
Daddy also likes chickens but he says his favorite chicken is Korma.
I dont know where Korma is but he says he loves Korma and her best friend puppy dumb.
I think that's a mean name but daddy says he loves puppy dumb a lot.
This is where Daddy works.
He says hay is heavy but I have seen hay and its very light. I think Daddy is silly but he's funny.
This is Uncle Jeff's farm. He makes the best scrambled eggs ever.
This is where Betsy lives. Daddy says Korma comes from here too but Uncle Jeff just laughs when I ask where Korma is. His eyes wrinkle when he laughs.
On the far edge of town is a farm that Daddy doesn't like me going to... he says Mr. Plebbit is mean. I've never met Mr. Plebbit but Daddy says he's mean.
Sometimes Daddy and me go to the next town... Merry Vill... um... Meril ... I can't say it but Daddy can.
We take our truck and also our lawn mower to this place to be fixed sometimes if it breaks and Daddy can't fix it himself.
Normally Daddy fixes it but sometimes it breaks too much and he needs someone else to fix it.
It's not far to the next town which I can't say properly but it takes us awhile because Daddy drives slowly.
He says he likes the air and to take his time. He always smiles when we drive so I smile too.
One day Daddy says he will take me to see the big city. Daddy came from the big city you know? Before I was born. Daddy doesn't smile when he talks about the big city but he promised to take me when I'm bigger. I want to go but I can't take Betsy.
Boston had grown very fast in the last few years, and in fact the last two years alone had seen Boston's population grow by the same amount that it had grown between the years of 1925 and 1965 - by over 140,000 sims.
These sims traveled - by car, train, boat, and of course by plane. In recent years especially, aircraft traffic had become a more and more affordable and popular means of travel, and had made the entire SimGlobe a very small place.
But Boston's aging airports were becoming more and more burdened by increasing traffic, despite leaps in equipment and training.
Flight 86H, tragically, was simply a matter of time.
Flight 86H - a routine flight from Boston v2 to Washingsim, stopping off at Everglades en-route.
But on this one routine trip, something went terribly wrong.
Shortly after take-off, Flight 86H radioed Control with the following message:
"Control, we have a fire in Engine One. We are declaring an emergency - request immediate clearance to land. Over."
Control of course provided immediate clearance, however a few seconds later the following and final transmission was received from Flight 86H.
"Control, we have lost all control of elevators, we are in a steady descent bearing 311. Altitude 3000 feet and falling. We are unable to pull up. Mayday Mayday."
The eery automated beeping and the artificial voice of the cockpit controls could be heard in the background of the transmission repeating "Pull - Up. Pull - Up."
Shortly afterwards all communication with Flight 86H was lost.
Two other flights in the region saw Flight 86H decend and strike the forests of the Ilium Range on Boston's distant south-west, about 7 kilometers south of Carver Hills. They radioed the location to Control, and reported that a fire and smoke could be seen in the area.
Recognising the need to stem a forest fire that could easily take over the area and kill any survivors as well as potentially threaten Boston itself, a remote Fire Fighting crew was dispatched from the Airborne Fire Brigade in Boston East Central. It was not hard to locate the site of the crash - an alarming thick black smoke surged from the area.
The fire was a massive scar on the forest, with greasy dark smoke billowing angrily into the sky so thick that it cast a shadow on the forest for kilometers.
Controlling the blaze took two days, during which time any search and rescue was completely impossible not only because of the noxious black smoke but the danger of further air-crashes due to the semi-controlled nature of the aircraft in the sky over the area.
The fire left little hope for survivors, and dealing with the fire was first priority both for the city, and for any survivors that may have evacuated the area into the neighboring forest.
The public outrage, shock, and fear during this time was electric.
Shock, followed by anger and immense sadness had officials and the SimNational Flight Safety Regulation (SFSR) squirming and struggling to find answers that ensured this disaster didn't land in their lap, so to speak.
When the fires were out, the true horror of the scene was laid bare for the entire nation to see.
Flight 86H was utterly destroyed, with a huge ruinous trench having been smashed into the Ilium range by the fallen aircraft. There was no hope for survivors.
While SimNation mourned, the SimNational Airforce dispatched three heavy air-lifts to assess the possibility of survivors and to set ground-crews at the site to begin documenting the crash.
As expected, no survivors were located, and the state of the wreckage indicated that there was essentially zero chance anyone could have made it out alive.
As soon as was practical the area was searched and each piece of the wreckage was carefully documented and relocated to a federal crash investigation hangar, where the cause of the crash was to be determined. The blackbox was recovered without incident and verified much of what was already known.
The SFSR had some serious heat from the press, but for the moment there was no specific word on what had caused this horrific disaster - the worst aviation disaster in SimNational History.
284 souls had perished in the Flight 86H Tragedy.
Someone was going to be responsible.
The Tellequin Point - Tunnings Rail Line, completed in 1985, has served Grimey Industries very well for the last 8 years.
In addition to shipping ore and supplies between Tunnings Quarry and the industrial harbour at Tellequin Beach, the line also served to move workers between Tellequin and Tunnings, as not all workers chose to live in Tunnings (the town) itself.
But as Boston grew around Tellequin, Tunnings, Kelly Bay, Cape Noddi, Tranquillity Harbour, Oyster Cove and further east, demand for public transport in towards Tunnings grew. With the advent of the SimNational Highway project connecting Kelly Bay to not only Boston CBD but the rest of SimNation, the need for a connection to Kelly Bay from the eastern most densely populated areas was made increasingly important.
A short rail-link was proposed that would connect Tellequin Beach and Kasmir Point to the existing Tunnings Line (also called the "Southern Rail Link"), with the long-term plan to connect that southern network to the existing central Boston rail network within the next five years.
The proposal involved restructuring the existing passenger rail station (built, owned and operated entirely by Grimey Industries until now) with a higher capacity rail station that would allow passing train traffic.
The rail line would pass to the east of the bulk of the built up areas, through farmland (to keep costs down), up to the north of Eastlook, and across the inlet and into Kasmir Point, where it would terminate.
This would involve the construction of Boston's second causeway, the first being a road across to Portsmouth Island some years ago. Unlike the causeway to Portsmouth Island, this one would be significantly less expensive due to being a widening of an existing natural causeway over much shallower water, rather than the filling of a natural channel.
Tuckmore Marina were less than impressed with the concept due to the disturbance to their "pristine natural attractions" and the impact it would have on their business, but their protests were only one of many businesses to express input, and most businesses agreed that it would be a boon, especially in Kasmir Point.
The existing passenger station next to the Tellequin Minor League station would have to go, being upgraded and replaced by a new and better station.
Several businesses and homes in the area would be resumed by the development, but the overall positives of the project greatly outweighed the disadvantage it put a few sims at. The fews sims that were displaced were, as always, paid very fairly for their homes, and all objections were over-ruled by a lot of well-funded legal pressure.
Development always trumps "but I was here first" in Boston v2.
On the heels of the SimNational Project Colorado Lumber and the Boston City Council had some unique opportunity to harness the public acceptance of large-scale woodland destruction to seal some important contracts that would last some years into the future.
Current contracts for Colorado Lumber were far out west, where by and large there were a lot of trees and the Wilderness Warriors had a weak argument when challenging this logging due to the fact that the logging operation affected such a tiny area of forest compared to the areas left untouched.
Closer in to the built up areas, this was not the case. Forests here were already under a great deal of pressure from expansion and property owners clearing their land to "improve" it, and so the added pressure of a logging operation was much easier for the Wilderness Warriors to gain public support against.
The SimNational Highway Project, in particular the M2 (formerly known as the Eastern Seaboard Highway South, or ESBH South) had created a lot of acceptance in Kelly Bay due to the destruction of forest being a desired alternative to the destruction of Kelly Bay's heart. Readers may recall the protests against this project in Entry #59 "Kelly Bay Crossing Rejected".
The end result is a great weakening in public support for any protests the Wilderness Warriors have against logging and development in the immediate areas (especially around the highway itself). This in turn means that now is a golden window of opportunity for Colorado Lumber to snatch up some contracts in the area, and for Boston City Council to make some good coin on the tailcoats of the SimNational Highway Project.
These contracts represented around 20% of the contracts being evaluated by Boston City Council and Colorado Lumber. The others were much more scattered than these contracts. These logging permit contracts were evaluated and signed hastilly while the public remained reasonably accepting of major development in the area.
Effectively these contracts doubled the area of land that had been contracted to Colorado Lumber. The terms of many of these contracts were that the logging needed to be completed within a few short years and started immediately, while the iron was hot, so to speak.
This suited Colorado because they could invest in new staff and equipment and expand their operations in quick time. It suited Boston City Council because Colorado was taking care of the deforestation of areas that Boston intended to on-sell to developers to cater for the population boom that the SimNational Highway Project was bringing...
Land always fetched a better price if it required less expense to develop. Flat cleared land was far more valuable to developers than forested hilly land that required a lot of clearing and terracing.
Boston's surrounding wilderness lost.
Hardly anybody noticed.
Two months on and Colorado is certainly maintaining their end of the contract.
A little too strictly to the letter, actually.
Contract #0801a is 65% depleted, and Contract #0801b is now almost 35% depleted.
The contracts did not stipulate that the land needed to be rehabilitated in any way, so Colorado is leaving a swathe of destruction in its wake.
Stumps, stunned and terrified animals, and trees and shrubs too small to interest Colorado have been left behind the advancing chainsaws and machinery.
Needless to say, Boston City Council is less than impressed... the only thing it got out of this deal besides royalties was cleared land ready to sell for a good price to developers.
Now developers still needed to put in the same amount of time, effort, and machinery to prepare this land for sale, so the deal has become quite sour for Boston City Council.
Sadly, in its haste, all of the contracts around Kelly Bay have neglected to address a cleanup process, so Boston City Council is down many millions of Simoleans on what it thought it was getting out of the deal.
This will definately NOT persuade them to cooperate with Colorado Lumber Pty Ltd so willingly in future, but with the next 5 years of contracts laid out before it, Colorado will cross THAT bridge when it gets to it.
The merry sound of dozens of happy chainsaws, and the cracking of falling trees is heard from sun-up till sun-down, every single weekday, in western Kelly Bay.
There's a delightful order to things. A balance.
Some express it in terms of good and evil, right and wrong, dark and light.
It's all the same thing - water finds its own level. You can't push too far in one direction without forces coming together that force you back in the other direction again.
Colorado Lumber thought they'd gotten one over the City Council of Boston v2, for contracts stretching the next five years and worth many hundreds of millions of simoleans.
What Colorado Lumber failed to realize is that Boston City Council were are particularly well organised bunch, not the insipid poorly structured local government that Colorado had become used to dealing with in other regions of SimNation.
Colorado Lumber (and pretty much all lumbering companies of the era) relied on heavy machinery to rapidly process the forest into logs ready to be carted to a mill.
Much of this heavy machinery was in the form of log-moving and in many cases tree-cutting equipment. Without this equipment men with chainsaws would cut a tree down, strip it of branches, and then be forced to use block and tackle or beast of burden (like oxen or Clydesdale horses) to wrestle each individual log onto a truck or train for transport to the mill. Machinery made this process tens and often hundreds of times faster and therefore less costly. Less cost equaled higher profit.
The workhorse of Colorado Lumber's logging machinery was the Tigercat 726A, and the more recent model Tigercat 735A. These machines were designed to grasp a tree at the base, saw it off near the ground, then roll the tree through a set of blades that stripped the tree down into a trunk, then carry the log to the nearest truck. All without ever letting go of the tree from the jaws at the front of the Tigercat. The entire process took less than 40 seconds, which was around a tenth the speed it would take a man with a chainsaw just to fell the tree to the ground, not counting the stripping.
Colorado Lumber as part of the contract process (in particular the stipulation about the contracts expiring in around five years) had invested in dozens of these machines - at a cost of about $750,000 simoleans EACH. A significant investment.
These machines were very wide - too wide to fit onto conventional trucks, requiring massive convoys to move them between sites or inter-region. Fortunately for Colorado local road rules were such that providing these vehicles traveled on main roads, with a pilot vehicle, in the left lane to allow overtaking, and with lights flashing, they could travel without being carried by a semi-trailer. Effectively there were dozens of these machines moving back and forth between sites throughout Boston more or less at will, saving Colorado Lumber many tens of thousands of dollars every time one of these Tigercats needed to move from one site to another.
Now, the official story is that it's a total coincidence that this happened less than a month after Colorado decided to play hard-ball with the council about clean-up stipulations in the contracts.
However, shortly afterwards new local road laws were passed that stated vehicles of this size could not move back and forth without being on a trailer, with an advance pilot, a trailer pilot, and a distant advance pilot, as well as a pre-registered route being submitted to (and approved by) council, as well as being limited to being moved between the hours of 2am and 4am on week-days only. Effectively these Tigercats were on a lockdown at sites they were operating at, and could only be moved under EXTREMELY tight (and expensive) conditions.
This was made doubly worse in that there were only four vehicles within several thousand kilometers that were able to move these Tigercats, and all of them charged a LOT of money and started billing from the moment they left their home-base cities... whether the Tigercat was on board or not.
So costs to move these Tigercats went from almost nothing to many hundreds of thousands of Simoleans EACH, between every single contract site, and the limited number of vehicles that could move them combined with the conditions under which they could be move effectively meant that it would take months to relocate a fleet of them from one site to another.
The maths was simple - Colorado would be only able to lumber around 25% of the contracts they had acquired (and paid for) before they reached their tools-down date. And each one would cost millions upon millions of Simoleans more than had been catered for to complete.
And so it was that on the 14th of June, 1992 that Colorado Lumber generously offered to go above and beyond the terms of their contract and clean up their logging sites by grading stumps and reducing all sites to cleared earth when they'd finished operations. They even offered to draft a new contract that included this clause.
Wasn't that lovely of them?
See? Big Business sometimes does do the right thing afterall.
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