The line has to be drawn somewhere
By Bill Phillips
Not sure which joke is worse – that we hired the ‘gang who couldn’t draw straight’ to paint street lines or the fact that we shouldn’t worry about it too much because the lines will be gone by the time the snow flies.
Kudos to the city for canning the contractor who had Shaky behind the wheel when they were painting lines. And good job in getting a 15 per cent refund on what had been paid.
The line-painting job was simply unacceptable and the city did the right thing by sending the line painters packing, even though they still had a year left on their contract.
But that’s not the worst part of the picture. If you’ve been in Prince George for the past few years you’ve likely wondered where the street lines go when the weather gets bad. Do they head south with the birds? Do they hibernate with the bears? Do they fade away like political dreams?
If you are a motorist in Prince George you’ve undoubtedly noticed that they are non-existent for most of the year on busy streets (the white dots the pavers put in are quite often all we see of street lines for months and for some reason those dots don’t fade).
City staff has explained that environmental regulations changed in 2009, forcing the city to use water-based paint on our roads rather than oil-based.
That would explain why the street lines are good for only a couple of months of the year, but it still doesn’t make sense. (At least the city is looking at re-painting lines this fall).
In light of all this, I do have one question: Why is it that provincial highways don’t seem to have this same affliction? Are they not subject to the same environmental regulations (OK, two questions)?
Maybe the city should be seeing what the highways contractors use.
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We shouldn’t get too bent out of shape by the news that Cariboo-Prince George MP Dick Harris was the top B.C. MP in terms of racking up expenses last year.
Harris billed out $505,257.08 in expenses in 2014-15. Much of that expense comes in the form of office expenses, paying for staff, etc.
When you look at the fact that Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen’s expenses totalled $452,469 and Prince George-Peace River MP Bob Zimmer’s expenses were $485,557, Harris’ expenses, while greater, aren’t that much out of line with MPs in the area.
It’s not even overly upsetting that Harris’ travel expenses almost doubled, going from $56,188 the year before to $108,711 and that most of that increase was because his wife Anne Phillips was tagging along. Her travel bill went from $18,712 to $54,457.
The travesty is that a good portion of Harris’ travel expenses are likely for him to travel back and forth between Ottawa and his home … in the Okanagan, not between Ottawa and his Cariboo-Prince George riding.
In addition, some of those travel costs are, undoubtedly, for him to travel from his home in the Okanagan to his riding here in Prince George. And there’s a certain amount of economic activity (travel agent booking etc.) that is lost to the local riding simply because Harris chooses to live in the Okanagan rather than the riding he represents.
It’s ironic that one of the key issues in the Senator Mike Duffy trial is the residency requirement for senators. It’s not an issue for MPs and Harris is taking full advantage of that at the expense, literally and figuratively, of the riding he serves.
Bill Phillips is a freelance columnist living in Prince George. He was the winner of the 2009 Best Editorial award at the British Columbia/Yukon Community Newspaper Association’s Ma Murray awards, in 2007 he won the association’s Best Columnist award. In 2004, he placed third in the Canadian Community Newspaper best columnist category and, in 2003, placed second. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org