Sunday, August 19, 2007
What About the Roads?
Last weekend at my cousin's wedding reception I was chatting with Dan, a friend from the hotel. He and I were talking about the election, all the projects going on in the city and what an important time this next three years will be for our community. I was saying that among other things the next council is going to have to work hard to get the Aquatics & Wellness Centre built and sort things out with the county on issues like fire.
Then Dan paused as if he was about to say something... and, after I encouraged him to say what was on his mind, he asked a question that I've heard a few times before...
"What about the roads?"
Well, Dan - I'm glad you asked:
Over the past six years (the two terms that I've been on council) the city of GP has invested much more in core infrastructure like roads and sidewalks than previous councils. In each of the last six years (2001 to 2006) council has spent an average of just under $9 million ($8,705,432) on roads and sidewalks - over the previous 16 years the average was $3,838,810.
I'll put the full numbers below for you to see year by year what was actually spent.
Many people think that council has a choice of either fixing the roads or building facilities. The fact is that running the city isn't a "zero sum game" where we have to do one at the expense of the other. We have to find ways to do both and that's the balance that the two councils I've served on has found. Sure, there is still much work to do - our roads take a beating and it shows in many places but the investment is there.
Of course there's also the fact that the contractors are suffering from the same labour shortage as the rest of Alberta - they can only handle so much work. Last year (2006) we tried to spend an additional $3 million but couldn't get anyone to do the work! So, the projects carry over to this year and we'll try and get them done.
Do the numbers surprise you? What do you think of the investment in roads in GP? Leave a comment below.....