Saturday, December 15, 2007

time to rant...

RESPONSE: Putting a stop to idle time

Victoria Handysides
News Staff
Friday December 14, 2007

As a private Sherwood Park Chevy Tahoe driving resident, I’d like to comment on this issue from another perspective. Regardless of whether this is a good environmental idea or not, let’s take into consideration the potential collateral impact of this idea “when it comes down the road” here in Strathcona County.

First, drive-thru revenue is crucial to those businesses that have them…cutting that puts people, including the elderly and others on fixed incomes (whom often take these jobs out of necessity due to things like a 9% tax hike) out of work. Secondly, look at this from a family perspective, mothers use the drive thru option. Why? So that they can get a cup of coffee, lunch for the kids or remove money from a bank account and they so don’t have to unpack all the kids and stand in line for lunch on the way home, many of our councilors are well past those years now and may have forgotten what it’s like.

Further, here in Strathcona County, we’re very unique in the region, we have a considerable amount of large industry paying taxes to help with our high standard of living and “we” (including myself) am very happy to invite and welcome billions more in investment of this type, (investment that both the City of Edmonton and Strathcona County are willing to fight over by the way.) We could balance this by focusing on attracting clean technology businesses but our Mayor thinks we’re already very well diversified on that front and so we don’t have a strategy for that, but that’s another story. By the way, during the past election she referred to in part the very businesses that would be directly affected by a bylaw of this type as part of that strong diversification. On the downside of those positive press releases stating another upgrader investment to locate here, comes a certain amount of pollution, not a surprise to this community, since that’s been its bread and butter for decades now, regardless of whether “they’re diligently operating within accepted air quality parameters” or not, that’s a fact, just look outside your window. So, who is adversely affected by this fancy new environmental stewardship? Well, almost everyone but certainly the elderly segment of our steadily aging population whom are still able to drive. Many whom are suffering from poor circulation or arthritis for example, which is a larger issue in -20 to -30 weather and requires a very warm vehicle to help alleviate the affects, I guess we should just say that all elderly should stay home in the cold or be prepared to shut off their cars, get off their lazy polluting duffs and quickly hop into the store…And should they fall and break a hip while being strong environmental stewards and obeying the law? I guess in the name of environmental stewardship we should accept that resulting increase in healthcare costs, how many beds does our soon to open new hospital have? How many elderly care facilities do we have here in Strathcona County?

I’ve got an idea that will actually address the “cut emissions during rush hour” issue…pass a car pooling bylaw, all residents traveling to and from the City of Edmonton must car pool or take public transportation unless you’re driving a hybrid. In the name of environmental stewardship, “let’s tax em and fine em”…I can hear the battle cries in the halls now…

But by far my favorite lead by example idea, another bylaw may state that all of Council must use Strathcona County public transportation to travel within County limits and when traveling to the City of Edmonton. That might actually be feasible if this Mayor and the last Council hadn’t lost touch with the needs of the citizens.

I suppose the positive irony out of all of this is that once our aging council decides to finally retire they’ll still be subject to their own law. May we be greeted by them at a fast food drive thru sometime soon, oh wait a minute, I forgot about those great pensions…

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