George Le Masurier photo
The Week: Tolls on the Fifth Street Bridge, and quieter coffee shops, please
Four people died every day in BC last year from a drug overdose. One hundred, twenty of them died in November, 13 percent more than last year. We lost 1,380 people in 2018. Two decades into the opioid epidemic and these numbers are still shocking.
The BC Corner reported that the numbers of deaths on the North Island went down from 38 to 25, but it doesn’t feel like something to celebrate. Especially not when Courtenay RCMP announced last month that they had seized a potentially lethal combination of drugs, including fentanyl, from a man who was still in custody.
Not one of last year’s drug-related deaths occurred at a safe consumption site. But, please, people, let’s stop calling these live-saving facilities “drug overdose prevention sites.” Even trained professionals supervising these sites cannot prevent someone from overdosing. They do not know what’s in the concoction someone injects. But they can, and do, prevent that person from dying of an overdose.
¶ Two clever Decafnation readers have independently suggested the “perfect” solution to the City of Courtenay’s Fifth Street Bridge problem. The bridge desperately needs a renovation that’s expected to cost up to $6.3 million. The city doesn’t have that much laying around, and, anyway, why should Courtenay residents have to foot the whole bill when it’s used by a lot of people who don’t live there?
Our reader’s obvious solution: toll bridge.
At $2 per crossing, it would take 8,630 crossings per day for one year to pay the bill. Okay, so there’s lots of practical problems with this idea, but …
¶ It only took a couple of days into 2019 to issue the year’s first boil water advisory for the Courtenay and Comox water system. It’s not a coincidence the advisory came after this week’s big rain events. But, of course, no one dares mention logging above Comox Lake in this discussion, or how restoring the watershed to a natural state could reduce the need for a $100 million dollar water treatment plant. Did you also notice the color of waters in the Courtenay River and K’omoks Estuary had turned Sediment Brown?
¶ Some Cumberland die-hards started a New Year’s Day swim in Comox Lake this year, and the “my water was colder than your water” arguments have already heated up with the Goose Spit swimmers. Cumberlanders want bragging rights.
What they don’t have is a unique name. The Cumberland “Black Bear Dip” has been tossed out, but it’s kind of lame, right? A reference to the village’s coal history? Who knows. What name do you suggest?
¶ If you weren’t that worried about climate change before, this might tip your scales. New research published in Nature Plants, a nature research journal, predicts climate change will cause a worldwide beer shortage.
According to the study, expected droughts and extreme temperatures will diminish barley crop yields by three percent to 17 percent. And since most barley goes to feed livestock, beer producers will get even less than a proportionate share of the declining yields.
That means the price of beer would double and global consumption would decline by about 16 percent. Consumption would decline by as much at 32 percent in some of the poorer countries, while more affluent countries might see less of an impact, according to the researchers.
And without beer or BC wine, what are Albertans going to drink?
¶ We read this important New York Times article — ‘How to be a better person in 2019’ — so you don’t have to. Here’s our Cliff Notes summary: More sex and CBD, less screen time and consumer spending.
¶ When did Comox Valley coffee shops get so loud? Didn’t they used to be a place of quiet refuge, where someone could go for a moment of reflection? Not any more, and we blame the interior designers.
Not all coffee shops are noisy, but those that are have a particular style in common: sleek, hard surfaces, slate, shiny wood, and a noticeable absence of soft, sound-absorbing materials like tapestries or upholstery. The grinding and whistling of the espresso machines mix with a rattling of cups and human conversation to bounce around the room in a cacophony that is not just audibly annoying, it can become a barrier to thoughtful conversation.
Can we get back to coffee shops where you don’t have to shout to be heard and where you leave without a post-rock concert ringing in your ears?
¶ Happy New Year to the Decafnation. Spring is coming and the days are getting longer!
LIST OF TOLL BRIDGES IN CANADA
A. Murray MacKay Bridge
Angus L. Macdonald Bridge
Blue Water Bridge
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Deh Cho Bridge
Fort Frances–International Falls International Bridge
Golden Ears Bridge
Gordie Howe International Bridge
Ogdensburg–Prescott International Bridge
Port Mann Bridge
Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls)
Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge
Seaway International Bridge
Thousand Islands Bridge
Whirlpool Rapids Bridge
Yukon Suspension Bridge
Faith-based volunteers can contribute positively to the educational experience in our public schools but everyone must be perfectly clear about who they are, what they can and cannot do and school administrators must monitor their activity closely and consistently
A Comox Valley developer is suing the Town of Comox because his permits to cut down trees and build more single-family homes haven’t been issued as fast as he’s wanted and because the town wants a wider walking trail through the property
Another Comox Councillor was fined by Elections BC for violating BC elections laws, plus Parksville’s water supply is unable to meet provincial requirements for summer water flow in the Englishman River let alone provide water for a proposed 800-unit development
A serious fall drought has reduced flows in the Puntledge River, shutting down hydroelectric power generation for the first time in 55 years. Meanwhile, many states eye sending treated wastewater to kitchen taps
Making it easier for citizens to speak directly to municipal councils might increase public interest in local government, which in turn might encourage more registered voters to actually cast a ballot
Courtenay City Council’s annual appointments announced after a short delay
Cumberland and Comox municipal councils approve their mayor’s annual appointments, but Courtenay was a no show at its inaugural meeting. Is there conflict behind the scenes?
Dr. Jonathan Kerr topped the polls with voters, but will that resonate at the Comox Town Council as it is poised to approve new Mayor Nicole Minions’ appointments and assignments?
Despite the long drought this summer, Comox Valley water system supplies have not been threatened; the BC Wildfire Service has banned fireworks this year and clarifying Daniel Arbour’s place of residence
It was weird. But when the sun rose on Oct. 16, Comox Valley voters had made it clear they liked the direction charted by our local governments. In the municipalities, they elected all but two incumbents. In most races, the vote was a definite pat on the back for a job well done.