Saturday, June 11, 2005

London full of shit? How 'bout eliminating board of control?

Hmmm, seems the more politicians we have in London, the more feces flows into the Thames. This is a petition that might be worth signing.

From George Sinclair writing for the London Free Press:

Messy systems need fixing

Like that nasty little problem of raw sewage flowing into the Thames, it's well past time the city got around to correcting the way it governs itself.

On Monday, London city council will be asked to consider a petition that board of control be eliminated, that council be reduced in size and that new ward boundaries be drawn.

Last March, a Ministry of the Environment report indicated that, almost every time it rains, millions of litres of untreated waste water are dumped directly into the Thames River.

These two issues, so different at first glance, are actually closely related. Here's why.

The Environment Ministry reported on a series of inspections it made at London's sewage treatment plants over a period of many months. The findings were presented to the city's advisory committee on the environment. During the period covered in the report, about 1.8 billion litres of untreated water was released into the Thames -- from the Greenway plant alone.

The fact this happens -- and the reason it happens -- are well known, at least among the folks at city hall. But don't look for it in the glossy tourist brochures or on the city website.

. . .

We (as a city) have neglected to deal responsibly with that most basic need of its inhabitants -- sewage treatment.

So where has city council been all this time? What have council members been working on? What have their priorities been?

You don't have to look too far to see them.

. . .

. . .

The basic needs of Londoners are not being met, but we're adding new costs daily, with every mile of new road being paved around the city's edges.

We are building a city we cannot afford to look after properly.

Now back to city hall reform.

. . .

To become a controller takes money -- lots of money. Our review of election expenses reveals that donations often come from contractors, landlords, builders, lawyers, consultants and others who have issues that regularly come before council.

Eliminate board of control and part of that problem goes away, and perhaps other, more mundane issues, come into focus -- such as ensuring that the trip between our toilets and the Canadian Heritage River at our doorstep is not an express one.

Is there a relationship between city council structure and the sorts of priorities and decisions that they make? We think so.

Changing the structure of London city council is simply one way to help ensure better decisions emerge from the vast and complicated process of local government