Monday, February 19, 2007

Council minutes: micro-seconds of councillor reflection

According to the London Free Press, city staff are lobbying council to shift the costs of road and sewer projects for new developments from taxpayers to developers, prompting a return volley of lobbying from developers to maintain the status quo. Currently taxpayers directly pay 54 per cent of road construction and 10 per cent of sewer costs. Municipal revenues, however, also profit from the expansion in the assessment base that new developments bring in, so the net cost or benefit to taxpayers themselves is impossible to quantify — although it should be supposed that, with council's appetite for gobbling up revenues for pet projects that create future tax obligations and benefit only a handful of Londoners, the net effect to taxpayers is probably a cost.

Resolution of the issue is complicated, as always, by public ownership of assets. Public ownership and control of roads and sewers implies, of course, that its benefits accrue to the municipality and that it should at the same time be liable for all its costs. If the city cannot afford to continue the same cost-sharing arrangement with developers — a difficult proposition since it can apparently afford all sorts of other frivolities — a reasonable and equitable compromise would be that it release its zoning and approval claims of control over development in return for ceding its costs to developers. Maintaining control over development without assuming its costs is only a method for sustaining political environmental agendas, an all-too-common trick of modern administrations to pass of the costs of social and environmental engineering projects onto private businesses. The hedging of political bets over the proposed retail development at Fanshawe Park Road and Highbury Avenue owes as much to the debate over costs as of the desired social and environmental engineered effects of some politicians.

In other local social engineering news, council is debating tonight a planning committee's recommendation to develop a "comprehensive" — read, "restrictive" — policy on drive-throughs:

The argument has the potential to pit development's biggest supporters on council against those more concerned about traffic congestion and pollution.

… The environment is definitely a concern when drive-throughs are debated, [Coun. Joni] Baechler confirmed.
That'll be alright for her to say when the rest of us can get our double-double at city hall's subsidized cafeteria.

1 Comment:

Honey Pot said...

They can't take away the Timmie's drive-thru's, there would be an uprising of the grunts. Timmies is the only thing that brings Canadians together as one. It is like a measuring stick of how Canadian you are. If you don't drink Timmie's you're not a true Canadian as far as I am concerned. I don't trust people who don't drink Timmies. It's a Canadian ritual, and don't mess with our rituals or you will be on the shit list for sure. I am a talented woman, but riding a bike and holding a Timmies at the same time is not one of my talents.

Those tree-hugging,leaf-eating new puritans are going overboard if they think for a minute we are going to let them away with this.