This personal rant is a reaction to the following article in my local newpaper. The news article was headed Mayors mulling Victoria-Langford commuter train. I am sure that many communities have localized issues but the Greater Victoria area (Victoria BC Canada) has a significant set of regional issues, not the least of which is 13 individual municipalities with a total population of 377,000 individuals spread out over a geographically challenged area known as the Capital Regional District (CRD). Getting things done, especially when the issues cross municipal boundaries appears to be a forever process. Welcome to life in a provincial capital on the west coast – where is Rick Mercer when you need him most.
…. Yeah, we are talking about using the E&N track for some useful purpose again. Where have all you politicians been for the last number of decades? I guess it is now politically correct to resurrect this option, just as the impending Westshore traffic mess is about to worsen with construction at the TCH – McKenzie interchange. How convenient that such a construction project has pushed you to talk about something that should have been addressed a long, long time ago. But wait; let’s not rush this until we have built some form of a business case to examine per seat cost. Come on supposed community leaders, how many more years must you bury your heads in the vehicle smog every morning and evening before you truly show leadership?
Yes let’s build a business case but let’s build one that examines the impact of the carbon footprint our commuters leave every day as they idle at single digit speeds in going-nowhere traffic. Let’s examine (and quantify) the daily waste of energy that all forms of transportation use as they crawl to and from the downtown core. Let’s calculate the wasted productivity costs associated with workers sitting idle for hours every day and let’s not forget to calculate the social cost on families that must leave young children at home unattended before school so that they can sit in traffic just to get to work on time and then be late at the end of the day and miss out on the richness of excited young ones wanting to share their days with their family or sadly be late or miss school activities altogether.
We can always two-bit ourselves to death with taxpayer costs, imagined or otherwise, but when is our greater Victoria community going to focus on its social fabric and the richness of the daily lives of its people and do something that gives our community a real reason to be a community. Stop talking, stop fretting about per-seat costs and fix this mess for the benefit of the people you are supposedly being leaders to.