Friday, August 27, 2010

Close City Center Airport?

Some of the Edmonton "news" media folks are really pushing hard with stories that appear very one sided.  Both news articles and Columnists have been trying to bias you with little innuendos that are geared to make you go "what the fuck!".  So, ok.. what the fuck!  Believe those stories as being true.

But consider this.

Add in the estimated $90 plus million to buy out the leases that run till 2052.  Add in the costs of cleaning up the land after decades of aviation contaminants getting into the soil (this must be done before a single structure of residential type has started) plus the costs of upgrading the entire infrastructure (this means making the sewers larger in the core area, to handle the extra connections that would be needed to "house" 30,000 people, added water capacity, electrical capacity etc) and I bet you could easily be looking at another $300 million total.  Add in the projections that it can take 20 years to do these types of things.  Also know that the tax base that "fills" these residential units will most certainly NOT be all "new" residents, so the figures saying "oh we will make millions in taxes" does not necessarily mean it will be NEW income but some of it will be SHIFTED income coming from another area of the City.

Even if we forget ALL of that, and can have an 'instant hit' on our hands, what about the medivac portion of the role that the CCA plays?  Oh yes, you've already read all of the reports that say we can time the lights better between EIA and Edmonton (I would imagine that would be done just the same as all of the wonderful timing we have on the lights in the city now) and that we can just as easily transfer people from EIA to the two primary hospitals (UAH and RAH) by helicopter.  You do know helicopters can't fly in the rain or snow, right?  And we never have big downpours of rain, and the snow is always polite to us here so for sure we can always use helicopters...

OH WAIT! But we can *eventually* make more MONEY!  After all, some say the CCA costs us money (it doesn't but I won't go there either) so why keep it?

Hospitals cost us money. Doctors cost us money. Health care in general costs us MONEY.  So, do we close and terminate all of those services too?  If we don't have the will to invest in this issue alone... for a huge role that the CCA *does* provide is medivac services... we will certainly be the cause of doom for someones family in the future.  Oh, I can hear the words coming already... FEAR MONGER!!!  And for those people who believe that to be true, I feel sympathy for you, because you just can't see the truth.

They say that about 80,000 actions take place at the CCA, and around 4,000 of those are medivac related. They say that about 10% of those medivac transports are classified as "critical".  They can be accident victims, they can be neo-natal cases, they can be transplant organs... they can be someone you know.  So 400 critical cases a year, that's over 1 per day.

Let's hope that when all of the medivac is sent to EIA, that every day is a perfect day without rain, without storms, without blowing snow...  And don't forget, when the weather OUTSIDE of the City is that bad, the *chances* of landing at the City Center will be higher.  Weather conditions (for aircraft) are generally better within the City than outside of the City.

Let's also not forget some of those other "hidden" costs. EIA based 'everything' will mean adding in a 24/7 presence of city police (Yes, Air 1 and 2 will be at the EIA... ops, longer flight time for the air cops to respond) and ambulance staff and vehicles.  Let's not forget that if the weather is bad, these medivac transports by law, will be required to carry additional fuel to make it to an alternate airport (just in case the weather is bad).  Medivac pilots say that alternate is Calgary.

But of course, all you really want to do is make money right?  So ya... let's just close the airport and be instantly richer.

I trust you aren't going to choke on the sand that you have your head in... The medivac transport is going to take 30 minutes longer under the best of conditions.  And if it's done via STARS well hell, that's only $2,500 per hour..  So um..  exactly how much are we saving again?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Runway Closure Impacts Medivac

The audio file enclosed in this post is the full one hour broadcast of the Lesley Primeau CHED talk show from August 12 at 7:00 pm.  The file has not been edited, therefore you get the news, commercials etc as well.  The audio has been "reprinted" (if you will) with permission from Lesley.

The audio file is being hosted here.  No matter what I say, you will have your own opinion so I'm not going to bother you by saying anything more...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The issue is

Within the "twitter world", the debates and comments regarding the Edmonton City Center Airport (hash tag #ecca) are going back and forth. This blog post is not about if you are FOR or AGAINST closing this facility, it IS about the honesty of the process used.

The real bottom line here is... have our elected officials been honest with you.

Anyone who attended the "public hearings" held could clearly see that City Council was leaning towards closure.  Many of the experts in the aviation and medical areas gave multi reasons why it would be bad, but it didn't seem to matter.  When you look at the media report from the National Post that exposed some of the "behind the doors" activities, especially the influence from the Board of the Edmonton Regional Airport Authority...

There are a lot of things that happen behind closed doors within all areas of Government that the public is not aware of, and the politicians make sure that you don't hear about them.  And this is simply wrong.  But they all use the technicalities of the laws, many of which have been designed or re-worded specifically to keep you out of "the knowledge" so they can hide behind them and honestly say to you "sorry, we can't discuss that".

Remember when the Chief of Police was fired?  The details of that were not released (oh it's a private issue right) and the person tossed from this position filed a law suit.  Which you also never heard anything about.  But down the road, some details were leaked which suggested that the matter was settled out of court for a sum that was suggested to be between $250,000 and $500,000.  And if you watched news stories on from the local TV stations, you would occasionally catch a glimpse of this person who was fired.  Why?  Well, the City hired him as some type of "consultant".  Citizens of Edmonton should be thrilled that their taxpayer dollars were used to settle this law suit, and they should be thrilled that he was re-hired (as a consultant for what, and at what wage?) but of course, the figures can't or won't be released due to "privacy" or "legal" reasons.

Don Iveson, whom I have a lot of respect for, has stated in a response letter (read it here) that "we were acting on the basis of advice from the Airport Authority".  Drawn your own conclusions, knowing that there appeared to be back door activities (referencing the National Post article).

The real question here for 'the people' should be... Am I willing to let (what appears to be) this type of dishonesty of process continue?

There is real truth behind the expression "Ignorance Is Bliss".  Think about it when you vote, and stand up for and start demanding honesty and integrity within our elected representatives at all levels of government.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Life Celebrations

The strangest people under the strangest circumstances, can yield the strangest results.

A long time ago before the Internet ever became "alive", there were Bulletin Board Systems (otherwise known as BBS's) where people would gather in teleconference channels (tele meaning a dial up connection) to chat with strangers via text.  Strangers would meet up with other strangers, resulting in friendships.  Some of these 'chats' would involve calling long distance over the phone lines, and hooking up with another BBS site (often outside of Canada and even at times outside of North America) and groups of strangers would meet other groups of strangers... and just talk!

During one of these 'hookups', the BBS I was on was in a chat conference with another site in Boise, Idaho. And this happened many times.  So many times, that it was decided that a 'camp out' meet would happen, where folks from all across Alberta would meet up with folks from the Idaho area, in a camp ground in BC.  Actual face to face conversations would be had, along with huge amounts of food and drink, resulting with a friendship bonding that in many cases would last a life time.

I had the honor of meeting an outstanding American couple, Bob & Marti Cooper.  I could go into details, but suffice to say that many more meetings, camp outs, and get-together's would happen over the years including home town visits in both countries.

This blog post is to honor my dear friend Bob, who passed away too early in life, on August 4th of this year.  I was fortunate enough to be able to see him this past summer, and although he wasn't looking in the best of health, he still had his cheery bright smile and humor.

Bob was a short person and afraid of heights.  But you just could not help but get taken in by his zest for life.  While his full time job was working for the State of Idaho, he was extremely active in many social areas such as scouting.  Everyone who came in contact with him and his wife Marti, well... there are just some charms in life that you can't seem to get enough of, and both of these people made you just want more and more of them.

I can only encourage the people of today's Internet world of Twitter and other social mediums... take the time to get to know who you are dealing with.  Don't get lost in "just typing", meet the people behind the text and natter that goes on.  Because if you don't, then you will miss out on the huge opportunities to meet some really great folks.

I did, and I'm damn glad too!  We may not have lived next door to each other, but the door was always open.  Bob and I were never "mushy", but we always hugged.  We had this bond, this understanding of what a real friend is.  You will always be in my heart, and in my mind.  Rest in peace my friend...

For Marti and family... what can I say that hasn't been said or felt before.  I join you in your celebration of Bob's life, even though I am a thousand miles away.