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Friday, 8 March 2013
Hello everybody, and welcome to the Sustainable Construction and Infrastructure Blog!
My experience in the construction industry has completely turned my original opinions on their ear. More and more people are peering past the ‘green wash’ marketing and getting to the heart of Sustainable Construction – myself included! It’s really beginning to sink in that sustainability isn’t a ‘trend’ in the typical flash in the pan sense, but the bedrock of our progress into an uncertain future. Indeed the more I learn, the more hopeful and inspired I am to help find innovative solutions to our challenges.
I ask that anyone contributing be respectful of each other’s comments, and that we all focus on being…CONSTRUCTIVE.
That was super funny stuff right there… it couldn’t be helped.
SO let’s dive right in…
CANADIAN INFRASTRUCTURE REPORT CARD - September 2012
This newly released privately funded Report Card compiled 2009-2010 survey data from 123 Canadian Municipalities in four categories.
- Drinking water
- Municipal Roads
Of these four categories, municipal roads fared the worse, with 52% being in fair to poor condition. The total repair bill to bring all four categories up to ‘very good’ is a dizzying $171.8 billion or $13,813/household. This doesn’t include $115 billion needed in new infrastructure OR provincial and federal infrastructure debt.
It’s pretty obvious this isn’t a quick fix problem, particularly since it’s been accumulating for some time. With infrastructural spending as a percentage of GDP dwindling since the 70’s, continued devolvement of federal spending to the municipal level, and ballooning municipal debt, our local infrastructure is at a critical juncture.
AT THE INTERSECTION, Canada West Public Policy Brief, 2013
How to reverse the trend is the obvious question. To answer it adequately might take more time and energy than I can muster for this first blog entry, but here’s my stab at it.
A consistent, easily managed and disbursed pool of cash needs to be in place. Smaller municipalities in particular do not have the manpower to constantly apply for funding.
To feed the local economy, infrastructure needs to be maintained and grown with regular and strategic inputs. Infrastructure projects that target resource development and transportation grow the tax revenue needed to fund investments.
Innovation is the way forward. Learning from mistakes, developing new BP’s, technologies and designs often save money immediately, and always save it in the future.
Sustainable Construction is about supporting and creating a healthy environment for the future. Our infrastructure is more than a collection of roads, bridges and sewers. It’s the foundation of our society. Whatever models we follow and recreate 20 years from now – low impact development, decentralization, capacity building, renewable resource development – we need to invest in the very skeleton and circulatory system of our living society. It’s changing and getting older, just like our children who will inherit it.
Please feel free to comment – I look forward to learning from you!