Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee seems determined to keep ditch infilling among his top priorities, even though there seems to be increasing pressure on the city to turn its attention - and its cash - to developing additional sources of water supply.
The question is, will he maintain this position if this pressure intensifies?
Ditch infilling has been one of those routine municipal services provided by the capital city for years, but last year, a particularly dry spring and summer taxed the existing water source, and thrust the matter of water supply for the expanding capital city to the top of the agenda.
In spite of some councillors' suggestion that funds targeted for ditch infilling should be directed instead toward developing the city's new water source in the Milton area, the mayor is waiting for new federal infrastructure dollars for the project, which isn't likely to start until at least 2014. As well, he seems adamant about sticking to the city's commitment to provide ditch infilling for streets that haven't been serviced yet. Just last week in a story in The Guardian, the mayor pointed out that residents in amalgamated areas of the city were promised an equal level of services back in 1995, and that the city can't "abandon" citizens still waiting for ditch infilling "to concentrate on one specific project."
It's commendable that the mayor wants to treat all residents equally, but ensuring an adequate supply of water for the city should hardly be regarded as "one specific project." All residents, all businesses would benefit equally from efforts to develop adequate water supply for the capital city.
It'll be interesting to see if this spring and summer will be as parched as last year, and, if so, whether it will further tax the city's existing water supply. If it does, the mayor should expect even more pressure from those urging the city to start work on the Milton area site.
Enforcing the rules
A recent report suggesting that Canada's food safety rules are adequate, but that they need better enforcement, should motivate the federal government to increase its efforts to provide it. Canadians deserve no less.
In interviews with The Canadian Press a couple of weeks ago, food safety experts commented on the sanitation problems that led to the closure of the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alta. late last year. Canada is widely recognized for its food safety rules, they pointed out, but those rules aren't as thoroughly enforced as they should be. Inspection staff and workers on the plant floor, for example, may need to be better trained and afforded the time to follow through with all the rules and procedures put in place to safely process food.
The crisis that led to the closure of the XL plant and which was linked to 18 confirmed cases of sickness was unfortunate. But it would be even more unfortunate if we didn't learn from it. If the experts say we need to get better at implementing the rules of food safety, then let's act on that advice. Everyone from the worker on the floor, to the inspectors to the government department overseeing the food processing sector has a role to play.