Safety of the public has to be priority one. Infill, infrastructure and transit can be discussed until we are blue in the face but if the public is not safe, we don’t have a city. While safety is a priority, judicious use of the funds is also a priority. I do not believe in defunding the police. Most professions have a requirement to continue professional development during their careers, so should the police. There has to be accountability, that must be transparent to the public.
The funding for police, fire, and ambulance should be a formula model. This funding can be based on population which has been successfully used in other cities. Increases in funding would be based on population growth and changes to the rate of inflation. This will allow our emergency services to have the resources they need to keep our citizens safe and yet prevent our city council from allocating money ineffectively.
Infrastructure projects need to be on time, on budget, and properly done. City councillors should inform themselves thoroughly of the processes that they are intending to approve and understand the contracts and consequences on which they are voting. Too often members of city council will make excuses to justify poorly planned, poorly implemented projects that it seems like they did not fully understand. It is the responsibility of our leaders to hold accountable those responsible, most especially themselves.
Everyone wants their pot holes filled first and their back alleys repaired (including me). The unfortunate reality is the city has placed this aspect of infrastructure too far down the priority list for far too long. However, I am willing to say that I do not know the answer to this problem and would be open to suggestions from anyone who has a practical answer.
West LRT – Why I don’t support it and so should you.
I was asked today why I am not in favour of the West LRT. This project if built will only travel as fast as the vehicles on the road, meaning it must obey the speed limits by law. It is also required to obey all traffic control devices. Why would a person want to take transit if it only adds time to their commute to work? You have to make sure you leave home to catch the bus to make it to the nearest LRT connection. You will have to catch a connection somewhere along the line to make it your job. When you factor in weather such as rain, snow, wind and temperatures ranging from -30 to +30 why would you want to take the LRT.
The people in favour of the LRT often cite it will take cars off the road and it is good for the environment. Are these same people going to go to work on transit, come home on transit and then feed their children and then take transit to hockey, soccer, gymnastics, music lessons or any of the other activities we like to enrol our children in. How about swimming lessons, which for me is a crucial childhood skill that needs to be learned, you will have to make sure the child is dry and dressed very well for those winter lessons.
It has been stated in the city plan that the volume of people taking transit will not increase unless they institute changes to make transit more attractive. The only way it will become more attractive is if it becomes more economical and the only way it becomes more economical is by applying what the city plan calls auto levers. This is simply some made up phrase that should be called auto punishments. These include doubling the cost to own a vehicle, quadrupling the parking rates, toll roads and charging to park in front of your own home.
Let’s be honest here, the only people this is going to hurt is low income, middle and even upper middle-income families. The well off will just grin and bear it. It will make the well off commute faster because of less cars on the road.
If you notice I have left out the heavy financial burden building the West LRT is going to cost both in capital cost to build it but also the heavy cost to operate it.