Grrrr...

What's my beef? I have two beefs:

1) BC Hydro. The storms that hit people in Victoria in the last month have knocked down power in the region. The real storm that created this suffering hit over six years ago. Enron screwed power suppliers like BC Hydro-- it left them holding the bag on millions of dollars in unpaid bills. BC Hydro had to keep its books in order. So, their budgets skewed in favour of black ink and the expense of preventitive maintenance Preventitive maintenance does mean replacing cables-- but in the tree-filled region, it largely means trimming trees that lie near power cables. Trimming keeps a safety margin between trees and cables. Trees grow slowly. You have several years grace before tree branches close in. In well trafficked areas like Victoria's Cook Street Village, the lines have a visible halo of tree-less-ness. In remote reaches like Metchosin and Langford, trimming stayed on the BC Hydro's to-do list. Add in three storms back-to-back and suddenly this strategy comes down like a 200-year-old fir tree. Of course, if you look at their budget outlay for this year, you will huge amounts spent on maintenance and repairs. Maybe so much so that they can go low on this budget item in upcoming years. This is all supposition. But ask yourself: over the Summer and early Autumn how many Hydro trucks did you see clipping trees in anticipation of a stormy Winter?

2) Mt. Hood and Evolution vs. Enviro-nazis. I'm a fat-ass. I could do a lot to help my situation. I could eat right all the time. I could exercise more. It's my fault that I am in this situation. Or, so I thought. As I cruise past the US news channels, I feel seeing updates on Kelly James, Brian Hall, and Jerry "Nikko" Cooke who-- in between a week of storms and just short of another tremendous storm-- set out for a trek. It was supposed to be a day trip but they prepped for a much longer trek. Now they're lost. They're lost and $10,000s of resources are being spent. People are putting their life in jeopardy. This all for people who purposely put themselves in harm's way. So why is it that governments pick up the tab for these masochists when people who abuse their health are put on wait lists?

Comments

Tim said…
Re:

(1) I think you nailed it -- or at least the major reason for the ridiculous extent of outages in the CRD this winter.

(2) One of the pervasive underlying ethics of our modern world is Heroic Intervention, and in fact in the US most things centre on this form of action. In that sense, your example is especially appropos, because in the US (but to not quite the same extent) people are basically allowed to get themselves and other people into all sorts of tight spots, and then a huge effort is expended at the last minute to try to compensate for cumulative damage, recklessly done over long periods. Even so, what you are seeing with these climbers is the equivalent of a quadruple bypass or heart transplant. The real money costs may even be similar. Of course, it's pretty rare that a surgeon dies trying to compensate for arterial sclerosis, whereas the possibility of harm coming to a rescuer is much greater.

One of the most interesting debates I've read about the form of public health delivery centred on Heroic Intervention versus Preventitive Medicine. Heroic Intervention suits the US psyche (and for-profit medicine) much better.

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