A common theme of debate when discussing bike lane and pedestrian construction projects is the question of who pays for roads in the first place. Detractors of those who wish to walk, take transit, or ride bikes to transport themselves often claim that only those who own and drive cars pay for roads. The idea that cyclists should be licensed and insured is brought up also. So, just how are road projects funded?
One of the more common ways municipal roads are funded is via new developments. A developer building a subdivision has to construct the roads for the new lots, and has to pay “Development Cost Charges” (DCC) to the municipality they are in for future road works. The money to fund this road construction and pay the development cost charges is passed on to those who buy the new lots. Thus, homeowners are paying for these roads. If the houses are rented, or the new project is multi-family including rentals, then renters are paying for these roads. Whether any of these people have cars or ride bikes is immaterial – the cost of the infrastructure is included in the new home / apartment price.
Road expansion projects in municipalities in BC are typically funded by a combination of municipal funds (drawn from taxes and DCCs), Provincial grant funds and Federal grant funds. The largest share of Federal revenue in Canada is personal income tax at 48.1 % of all revenue. A fund that is often cited as paying for roads is the Federal Gas tax, however this makes up less than 5% of all Federal revenue, and totals only $2 billion per year of Federal Revenue. It is estimated that road maintenance costs in Canada, including expansion projects, total some $12 billion dollars per year.
Who pays for the roads? The answer is everyone pays for the roads, and if the revenue derived strictly from vehicle related taxes were to become the only source of funds used for roadworks, we would have a lot less roads and bridges to drive on.
Andrew Gower is a partner and Courtenay branch manager of Wedler Engineering. He volunteers with several local non-profits and is passionate about the Comox Valley’s sustainable future. He can be reached at 250.334.3263 or www.wedler.com.
We see the debate on climate change play out at all levels of politics and government. From the federal level with a now required carbon taxation program opposed by some, to the provincial level where BC has had a carbon tax for some time now, to even our local municipal level, where it gets discussed at local council meetings with some heated debate about its reality. Despite all of the rhetoric and opinions that counter whether or not climate change is happening and how severe it may be, the debate, for what it was worth, is actually over.
As a practicing civil engineer working in BC since 2005 now, almost all projects I have worked on in all of the various municipalities that they have happened in have been governed by regulations and standards that have incorporated mitigating measures to climate change. From predicting how much potable water can be supplied from certain watersheds, to designing stormwater infrastructure to safely convey rain water away from our homes and streets, climate change has been factored in to the very basis of the calculations and data used for over a decade now.
Locally, all four municipal governments in the Comox Valley signed on to the Climate Action Charter “pledging to take action to significantly cut both corporate and community-wide greenhouse gas emissions”. The City of Courtenay amended their Engineering Design Standard and Specifications in 2002 to increase the required amount of rainfall analyzed for stormwater systems to account for climate change.
A lot of the policy and design standards that have responded to climate change have been written and championed by engineers. Across Canada, professional engineering associations have been very clear on the need to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and that its cause is from human produced emissions. Why, you may ask, have engineers both individually and cooperatively signed accepted and taken action on this? It’s simple: ample scientific evidence exists, and it is the duty and ethical obligation of engineers to take action that is in the best interests of society.
Andrew Gower is a partner and Courtenay branch manager of Wedler Engineering. He volunteers with several local non-profits and is passionate about the Comox Valley’s sustainable future. He can be reached at 250.334.3263 or www.wedler.com.Andrew Gower
Riding the bus this summer was even more rewarding than usual for many people in the Comox Valley, due to the In2Transit promotion run by the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD). During July and August over 40 bus riders won prizes valued at $50 or more.
Brian Charlton gets In2Transit
“We would like to thank everyone who got In2Transit and to congratulate our August winners: Kim Watson, Corina Grossmann and Brian Charlton,” said Michael Zbarsky, Manager of Transit and Sustainability.
The promotion doesn’t stop just because summer has. It runs until November 15, 2015. To enter, ride the bus and either take a selfie and post it to a social media channel with the tag #In2Transit, or fill out an In2Transit ticket and drop it off with your bus driver.
Three monthly winners will be chosen for September and October out of the tickets and selfies submitted during those months and then three grand prize winners will be chosen from all the submissions throughout the promotion. Details on this promotion and where to get tickets can be found online at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/in2transit.
Over twelve weeks a team of Comox Valley Youth were immersed in learning digital media-making and employability skills through the Comox Valley Art Gallery, resulting in a series of original videos created to inspire the Comox Valley.
The Youth Media Project (YMP), sponsored by the Comox Valley Art Gallery through the Government of Canada’s Skills Link Program provided a range of new skills training for this year’s participants, some who faced real barriers to employment. This second project began mid-2015 and ended on September 6th, with a successful screening at the Stan Hagan Thaetre at NIC. It assisted youth in developing life and employability skills through group-based learning. The YMP featured workshops with guest media-makers as well as from the project partners: The Wachiay Friendship Center, Imagine Comox Valley and the Creative Employment Access Society, to name but a few.
Throughout the project youth received training in digital video production, graphic design and animation through the Comox Valley Art Gallery’s media lab, and engaged with key community leaders in discussions surrounding social justice, cultural heritage and community participation. The first part of the curriculum saw participants create individual video projects, aimed at providing inspiration to others. The second part of had participants placed with a variety of real clients, developing promotional video for them. Alongside the video production, participants developed an employment action-plan and resume/portfolio. By completing the program activities youth reportedly experienced reduced barriers to employment and increased ability to enter and participate in the labour market.
Imagine Comox Valley was delighted to play a role in this process and was deeply impressed with the quality of the productions and the ongoing development of this excellent initiative. Once again the participants raised the standards set before with a combination of community involvement, practical use for the media created, and by incorporating innovative and creative elements that reach beyond our part of the world. Have a look at the links below to view the videos on Youtube:
Saturday September 5 Stan Hagan Theatre, North Island College Doors at 6pm, Films start at 7pm – Free Admission
Each year the Comox Valley Art Gallery brings together a cohort of emerging filmmakers through the Youth Media Project. Participants engage in creating independent films that express their visions for change in the Comox Valley. Current work explores themes such as managing human waste, the real meaning of diversity, the affects of cyber bullying, the story of the Lewis Park totem poles, the importance of protecting the Cumberland forest, the meaning of love, and the story of a small town in Columbia that creates something out of nothing. Students work with community organizations to create short promo videos that will be screened as well. Refreshments will be served prior to the screening at 6:00pm when doors open.
Join us this summer for MAKE ART WEDNESDAY at the Comox Valley Art Gallery. Inspired by our current exhibitions, these self-directed art encounters offer possibilities for experimentation through hands-on artmaking. The events are open to all ages and everyone is welcome. Materials are provided. Donations are appreciated and support the program.
If you are interested in finding people to create and facilitate art-based events and want to work on street closures for a few hours on July / August Wednesdays from 10-12, we can offer this program as a format for this purpose.
We also have a big opening this Friday – hope to see you there.
Dawn talks about residential schools and their impact on the people and their family’s who were involved. She passionately makes a plea for a link between what residential school survivors experienced, and how their future healthcare needs have to match the impacts of that experience.
This talk translates our society’s increasingly global conscience to understanding the challenges of homelessness and realizing the innovative community problem solving making a difference in communities across the nation. Amanda sees our acceptance of homelessness as a pathology of our disconnection with ourselves, each other and our planet. Amanda presents a vision of community where everyone is at home.
Diligently taking out the recycling every week, Nick and his family got to wondering just how much stuff flows though their household. Placing a set of scales at the front door, they measured groceries in and garbage out for a while, and developed some interesting perspectives about how we do, and don’t, think about what we use each day. Every little helps…or does it?