Archive for July, 2011

A remote control bulldozer built and programmed entirely by the city could go on a rampage after an electrical fault, destroying half the city, and the City of Moncton would still find a way to say it was not liable.

Once again the city of Moncton is denying liability in basement flooding even though there is not much question that it was lax behaviour on their part that caused the flooding.

A construction company building a few new homes left a manhole uncovered. Silt, Sand and debris from the construction area got in the pipes and supposedly travelled all the way from Penrose to Westbrook Circle.

Now I don’t doubt it is possible for this stuff to travel this far but my question is why do the city inspectors have such a hard time getting around to looking at this Penrose area development. A few years ago a house in this area was built below grade. It is still below grade with no one willing to take responsibility for this error. Not the builders, not the inspectors, not the new home warranty. The basement of this house floods repeatedly and will until the house is brought up to grade (an expensive proposition to be sure)

So for one issue it seems that either the city inspectors and the builders who build in the Penrose area are complete strangers who have yet to meet one another even though building has been going on in this neighbourhood for a few years now or the inspectors are a little to close of friends with the builders.  The only other option is that these inspectors are completely incompetent and yet still manage to be allowed to put people’s lives and finances in danger by allowing sub standard building practices to continue.

Issue number two is the sewer infrastructure. The two biggest flood concern areas in this city are older “subdivisions” Hildegard and now Westbrook circle which means that these problems are likely made worse by poorly maintained sewer infrastructure that should have been completely replaced and upgraded decades ago. This is the type of problem that is happening regularly in St John at this point where the sewer infrastructure is in some areas over 100 years old and crumbling and buildings are getting flooded while the city and council twiddle their thumbs. The sewer infrastructure in both neighbourhoods needs to be upgraded and the remainder of the city needs to be inspected to make certain there is not another significant problem like this.

Issue number three is responsibility and liability. Personally I do believe the city is partially liable both with regards to inspectors not correcting these problems before they flooded homes as well as not having replaced this aging infrastructure already. The remainder of the liability lies with the contractor/s involved in the construction in Penrose.

This is again a weakness on the part of council and city staff is the refusal Not only to take responsibility for their own failings in this issue but also the failure to force the contractors to take responsibility and hold them liable for their part in this flooding as well.

This council is once again proving it is weak willed and unwilling to stand up for it’s citizens but it is also starting to look like this problem may actually stretch right down into the management of city staff as well.

The city has a responsibility to protect it’s citizens and they are proving more and more that this is something they are unwilling to do.

Pure and Simple Numbers

I have done some general math and with some very basic rounding have come up with a few figures

Federally to pay the budget each person in Canada would be required to pay approx. 8000/year or 670/month

Provincially to pay the budget each person in New Brunswick would be required to pay 1000/year or 84/month

Municipally to pay the budget each person in Moncton would be required to pay 2000/year or 168/month

Totally to pay our share of government services each person in Moncton would be required to pay 11000/year or 920/month

Now we can use these figures based on where we stand right now and using these figures it would suggest that we no longer pay GST/PST or HST as the case demands and that there would no longer be any service charges of any kind.

If we included a simple business tax of 1% of total revenue per year (not a sales tax) on each business we could possibly (this is conjecture) drop this cost per person down to perhaps 5500/year or 460/month. While this figure is still out of reach for some people a simple reorganization of the way we run the business of running our governments could radically reduce how much we pay per year in taxes and still radically improve the country/province and municipality’s budget prospects in future years.

By doing a bit of adjusting to improve projects and flexing these figures overall across the country and we could actually quickly make this city, this province and this country financially viable.

These are just quick figures and a solid set of figures to work within the fact that these numbers are still to high for some could be worked out and managed but reality is that we could feasibly work out a much more fair and just tax system that would drastically reduce the damage that is done each time the government makes cuts and with some thought can create a simple plan that will allow for some budget increases yearly and also will allow us to pay off our debt, improve our infrastructure and change the status of Canada to a leader in innovation and care.

Our Current Divisive Ways Are Hurting Ourselves

Two recent issues in this province are showing just how much we like to hurt our selves both on a provincial level and on a municipal level.

Whether these issues are slid out to distract the public from other problems that are ongoing or whether the attempt to set two groups of this province or city against each other serves a different purpose I do not know for sure. However the issue is we are damaging ourselves to serve someone else’s needs and i am not sure who or why.

The two issues that are so contentious at the moment are the bilingualism issue and the removal of lanes on two Moncton city streets to introduce bike lanes. I will endeavour to look at both of them.

Bilingualism

This issue first started in Hatfield’s era when bilingualism was put into the constitution at Hatfield’s request and was completed in McKenna’s era when laws were put in place to support this.

However the laws were weak and vague and left both groups feeling unprotected. And the truth is they were unprotected and because of this both groups made an attempt to solidify their positions trying to make sure they were not taken advantage of. The end result was a mess. All because when the initial framers made the laws they chose to make them vague rather then making certain that everyone had equal rights and protections under the law.

Now any attempt at creating just and equal laws is frowned on because Anglophones see it as stealing rights they are fighting for or not going far enough and Francophones see it as taking things they feel are their rights and not going far enough to promote their side.

Equality is what was indicated as the intent of the original law and equality is what we need to see. However the law even put into place a review system designed to draw the issue out into public and create harsher fights every so many years when a simple straight forward equality guarantee and protection for both linguistic groups was and is the ideal situation, any less then that and we are creating a long term tension to lawsuits to “correct and recompense the injured parties”

Bike Lanes

There is no question bike lanes improve the opportunity for active living however removing lanes of a busy street to add on bike lanes is not going to cut it.

This is actually causing a fuss as those complaining about the way this is handled are being labeled as being against bike lanes which is not actually true.

However the division between those who are looking to improve active transportation and those who are trying to keep our traffic situations from becoming a bottleneck are being caused largely by a city council who does not really want anyone looking closely at the way the council does business. If the people of this city actually banded together and demanded that these bike lanes be done right then the council would be facing a bill that they are realistically trying to download onto a future council (something this council has done before, In the Assomption Blvd fiasco)

We need to create an environment where bikers and drivers can use the space fairly this means that realistically the only options were to increase the size of the road to allow for addition of bike lanes or to create a separate bike trail near the roadway to allow the bikes a safe alternative option to using the road

Eventually we as a people are going to wake up and call a spade a spade when the government tries to create these divisions between it’s citizen, because it is obvious they are doing something slimy behind the scenes and are trying to create a major uproar amongst the community so that no one sees what they are doing until it is to late. There is no other reason for such illogical and poorly thought out behaviour as the bilingual furor and bike lane ruckus that is being caused by two of our elected levels of government.

Bike Lane Furor Far From Over.

This afternoon there is another council meeting which has the potential to get extremely testy. An article in the Times and Transcript and on CBC discuss the bike lanes and the council meeting today. However there is a major disconnect with reality when looking at the two sides.

One side is labeled as cyclists pushing bike lanes or other safe options for biking. That group or side is accurately labeled.

The other side is labeled as anti-bike lane. This is actually completely incorrect. This group is against reducing the number of lanes to create bike lanes. They are not against bike lanes if they are created intelligently but to pull part of an infrastructure away from one group and give it to another group is going to create major contention. Especially when the sensible and intelligent thing to do would be to simply add new infrastructure in place to accommodate the second group.

Creating the bike lanes is a good idea however it MUST be done by adding space to the road way to make room for it.

I have also heard that reducing the number of lanes and adding bike lanes will reduce traffic speeds. That is completely incorrect as I found out when I had to detour through this area. What I found was that the lanes have become significantly wider due to the removal of a lane to make up for the bike lane and that these wider lanes make a person’s speed higher then what the driver perceives it to be. Significantly so to the point that I would highly recommend using cruise control to limit your speed on this road.  This will also make it less safe for bikers then if they were using the side of existing lanes as drivers are going to be deceived about the speed they are travelling and therefore be not as in control of the car as they think.

This is not a safer option not by far and not an effective option either. It would have been far better to widen the road and leave 4 lanes plus the bike lanes as the traffic would have been slower, and smoother and less of a danger to bikes.

In addition this exact plan was shelved by a previous council for the exact same complaints and while the neighborhoods thought the issue was dealt with instead the council slipped through the changes while people thought their voices had already been heard and accepted

Duality in Health: Is it an Issue?

With the present questions being raised over Duality and the present breakdown of the two health authorities (one French designated, one bilingual designated) we need to look at the issue of whether this model is what best serves us.

Now for one I am not questioning the French authority as I am happier with the service I get in the French health network then in the service available in the bilingual network. I even find the service in English is better at the French network then in the Bilingual network.

What I do believe though is that realistically in a system as vital as health care we should not be operating two separate health networks. For one when someone needs health care they should be able to go to any hospital to get that health care and they should be served in the language of their choice at the hospital without question and without reservation.

This is my ultimate issue. We should have one single standard of service. We hear of those who are French not being able to get service in their language at their local hospitals (and while I am not sure where they live when they say that, I do not doubt they are probably telling the truth) however here in Moncton a city where 60% is English and 33% is French, we need to go to the French network to get good access to English healthcare (the Bilingual network is at best arrogant and unapproachable and the English service is sub par in comparison to that offered at the French network.

The truth is that there is no English health network to offer a balance to the French network but also that the health care operatives at the Bilingual network are less willing to deal in English and have far inferior English skills then those who work in a network aimed specifically at the French.

We do have an issue here in this province though and that is that we are constantly saying we don’t have enough doctors to serve the population in this province and yet Anglophone only doctors generally have to leave this province to find work. There are sufficient Anglophones in this province to be able to provide work to these doctors and it would reduce the brain drain in this province and free up some of the Francophone doctors to serve French patients who seem to at times have trouble finding service in their language as well. 

We need a single individual Health network that includes Anglophone, Francophone and Bilingual Doctors. The reason we need this is because each and every hospital should be able to fully offer service to anyone who enters their doors in either language. This service should be fluent in the language it is being provided in and it should be by the best available doctors in the province.

Our Francophone doctors should not need to go to Quebec and our Anglophone doctors should not need to go to Western Canada. There is sufficient work for everyone if we simply applied common sense to the way we operated our health care system.