No vicious circles or circular reasoning here. Just a set of points on a place all equal distance from its core, the centre. Photo by George Le Masurier
The Week: No new snow, no new bridges and no new beds
BY GEORGE LE MASURIER
This article has been updated to correct information about School District 71 school buses
Every homeowner knows that when you delay repairs to your house, they just get worse and more expensive to fix with the longer you wait. Courtenay City Council learned that lesson this week about the Fifth Street Bridge.
Back in 2015, City Council decided to save money by recoating the bridge rather than undertake more costly renovations. At that time, the recoating and some deck repairs were estimated to cost $2.2 million. But council discovered this week that price had ballooned to $6.3 million and is still not underway.
The nearly 60-year-old bridge could be nearing the end of its life span. Although structural engineers say lifestimes of 100 years are achievable with appropriate maintenance planning and if durable materials were used in construction.
This crossing of the Courtenay River is the only bridge for which the city is responsible. The 17th Street and North Connector bridges fall under provincial jurisdiction.
¶ Don’t expect seat belts in Comox Valley school buses in the near future. In a statement to a local media query, School District 71 said it was aware of a CBC series on school bus safety that found seat belts could have prevented thousands of injuries and many deaths.
Transport Canada, however, doesn’t think seat belts are necessary in school buses. “Transport Canada has declared school buses are already designed to protect children in a crash,” according to the SD71 statement reported by The GOAT.
The CBC reported that Transport Canada’s position against seat belts is “based largely on a 1984 study.” And the CBC investigation shows that “government officials have known for years that seat belts save lives and prevent injuries on school buses — information the department has kept hidden from the public.”
Let’s hope there’s no reason to question Transport Canada while they pull their heads out of the sand.
¶ If voters decide against proportional representation in the electoral reform referendum that concludes at 4.30 p.m. today, some fingers might get pointed at the mainstream media, including the Comox Valley Record.
An analysis of major media coverage of the referendum by Fair Vote Canada, an organization the supports proportional representation, found most newspapers tilted coverage against reform, if they covered it at all.
The Comox Valley Record, one of many newspaper owned by Black Press, refused to print any pro-PR columns written by Pat Carl, the publicist for Fair Vote Comox Valley, although it printed anti-PR material sent by the Black Press head office.
And, The Record also found itself in violation of campaign advertising regulations by printing a full-page advertorial written by Kevin Anderson without a proper authorization statement on file. After Megan Ardyche, Fair Vote’s volunteer coordinator, complained to Elections BC, Anderson was registered retroactively as a third-party advertiser.
In a letter to Fair Vote supports, Ardyche wondered why the newspaper didn’t know the legalities of election advertising. Good question.
¶ Decafnation received a kind note from Gwyn Sproule this week in which she praised women newly elected to local governments.
“It certainly is a joy to sit at the regional district board table and see so many young professional women entering local politics. I applaud them. It’s tough to be in politics as well as manage a family.” Well said.
¶ While we have been enjoying some unseasonably warm and dry late-fall weather in the Comox Valley, some of us are a little worried about the upcoming ski season. Mt. Washington has delayed its originally opening date — today! — because there just isn’t any snow on the mountain.
Temperatures have dropped this week, however, and the mountain has made snow on the lower runs. But the ski hill says it needs a good three-foot base to open, and that may take awhile.
¶ Why has Island Health delayed announcing contract awards to build the promised 151 new long-term care beds in the Comox Valley. Long-term care patients take up acute care beds in the Comox Valley Hospital, one of the factors in its ongoing overcapacity problems. And exhausted caregivers at home need help.
Island Health says it will still meet the 2020 deadline for having the beds open, but that’s looking like an overly-optimistic statement with every passing day.
Despite our enquiries, Island Health won’t say specifically why they’ve missed the Aug. 31 date to get the project underway. Do any insiders out there have a better read on the situation?