Paved Paradise Because Parking Was Already There

July 5th, 2016, after years of a mud pit following the rip-out of the previous playground:

University of Regina CW

Now it looks like this again:

College West reno playground removed

Reasoning given:

 A project of this scale requires a large site and staging area directly adjacent to the building. The site, the courtyard immediately west of the building and south of Wascana Daycare, is a centrally located site that allows for a full and safe construction staging area which will house cranes and heavy equipment.

This area creates efficiencies for the contractor, minimizes the impact on surrounding community and safeguards all who need to access the building and surrounding area. Using this site saves us money on the overall project, even if you include the cost of removing and reinstalling the playground.

When the playground was initially constructed, approval for the College West construction program was not yet granted.

A faculty member responds:

“As Dena mentioned, there was no approval for the $38M+ project prior to building the playground. But surely it must have been on the radar – $38M+ projects don’t materialize over the course of a few months, do they?  Or perhaps they do, because in fact, the BoG approved the renovations of College West on July 5th (the same day the fences [were] installed, it seems; …

Perhaps being prudent in building the playground would have been wise.”

A parent with an impacted child thinks so too:

“when I dropped my son off on Monday, he was DEVASTATED to see a bulldozer tearing up the his new playground. While it is posed to be rebuilt, it will not be until 2018.”

This is another frustrating example of construction on the University of Regina campus. Over the years I’ve proposed and supported many projects. Some are now realities, like the park and ride at Conexus Arts Centre (used by the Health Region instead), The RPIRG Green Patch garden, and the U-Pass universal bus pass for students which drastically cut the cost of a bus pass for students and increased bus service on campus. But also many more ideas have been rejected or have yet to be built. There’s no wind-row composting system on vacant University land. There’s still no energy dashboard, but there’s one apparently in the works and behind schedule. And there’s no separated bicycle infrastructure on streets. There’s no single-stream recycling system. No composting system. Not a single on-grid solar panel array. The thousands of dollars that went into constructing a playground and fence in use for less than 4 months, could have gone a long long way into implementing any of those other ideas and wouldn’t have been bulldozed in under a year.

I usually keep these sort of writings internal and send them directly to President Timmons, since she does respond and listen to what I have to say. This example though is already done, and was already done wrong. The money is gone, wasted. What do I hope for? Better foresight in project planning, and more willingness to try ideas proposed by staff and students. I can’t help but feel that a playground was destroyed literally in front of children who loved it, because a nearby parking lot is too precious to people who need to get over their love affair with their cars.

There are places in our city that fund raise for playgrounds, and our University is creating and destroying them in an unimaginable time scale. This is not sustainable growth. Unless you can build, destroy, build, destroy, then rebuild a playground within ten years in a sustainable way.

On Time and On Budget

There’s a cliche around the City of Regina the last while. Politicians will say a project is “on time and on budget”, but fail to point out that the initial estimates for the budget and time it’s expected to be completed, are amended as the project goes along. Get support for the project by low-balling the cost estimate, then when the public is committed, up it by including all of the reasonable maintenance costs.

“McMorris says the entire project will likely cost upwards of $300 million.”

Why did the project costs change?

The Government’s total investment of $1.88 billion includes the full cost of the Bypass over the next 30 years and construction.

The previous estimates were based only on the construction-related costs. The cost of construction alone is in line with the $1.2 billion estimate.

Apr 08, 2016:

The Saskatchewan government says the asphalt on most of the ramps on the new interchange at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Pinkie Road will have to be ripped up in order to prepare for a complex new series of ramps and overpasses.

The Pinkie Road Interchange was officially opened in the fall of 2013. ”

“When it began constructing this interchange back in September 2011 the government was thinking that the South Bypass would reconnect with the Trans-Canada Highway east of Albert Street “on the curves between Wascana Parkway and Albert Street.”

However, in September 2012, a consultant recommended that the bypass connect with the Pinkie Road interchange, which was already under construction.

Did a different part of the government see they needed to make a different interchange?

March 13, 2013:

Initially only eight to 10 acres were meant to be given up by each neighbour. Now, on average, each of those impacted were made to give up 88 acres.

Siller gave up a portion of his land – as required by law – for the new interchange. The bureaucrats took more than he feels was needed with a vision to one day create a cloverleaf where the interchange is now being constructed.

“Highways bureaucrats literally admitted they are proud of the fact they took extra land so they didn’t have to deal with future development,” Denton said.

#OldNews about Alcohol and Planes

Roughly, it says:
“Alcohol makes lumps. Whoever is not satisfied, can see it in this photo, which was acquired last night after a driver who was under the influence of liquor, first drove to the gate of the High Sluis and then ended up at the motor line 7. The driver himself was a lucky escape, but one occupant and the tram driver were slightly injured.”

Alcohol maakt brokken. Wie daar nog niet van overtuigd is, kan het op deze foto zien, die genomen werd nadat gisteravond een autobestuurder, die onder invloed van sterke drank verkeerde, eerst tegen het hek van de Hoge Sluis reed en daarna terechtkwam tegen de motorwagen van lijn 7. De bestuurder zelf kwam met de schrik vrij, doch een inzittende en de bestuurder van de tram werden licht gewond.

Wall’s Faulty Logic

“Showing leadership matters, signals matter, examples matter, but the numbers are the numbers,” Wall said.

Essentially, Wall appears to be suggesting that because no single action by itself will solve the problem, we shouldn’t take that single action.

Applying this logic to other situations reveals just how faulty it is.

When China surpasses the amount & proportion of green electricity generation of Saskatchewan, who’re we going to use as scapegoat for lagging?

Don’t Buy a VW

This is awful.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/22/volkswagen-air-pollution-uk-poisoning-government-legislation

Cities will lose some smog when the VWs are fixed or scrapped.
http://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/advanced-cars/how-professors-caught-vw-cheating

Solar All Over California

Train station

Pawn shop

On our Amtrak trip through southern and central California, I watched the dry and irrigated fields fly by me at 133km/h. We stopped for the night in Bakersfield (the most conservative city in America, some figures show), and it was 41 degrees even with the sun down. The cement around the pool at night warmed my feet as if the hot sun was beating down on it only a moment earlier.

Large #solar farm north of Wasco CA
This large solar farm appears to be the one mentioned in this story about a Hanford Dairy.

Bridge and plane

"PALM BARF" in L.A.

Oil in L.A.
Los Angeles oil production. You can see how dry it is there.

2015-08-21_07-05-25

Hills covered with wind turbines north of Oakland.
Hills filled with wind turbines in California

Metal tends to rust near the ocean:
Rusty beach cruiser

Insane! Ludicrous! Plaid!

I knew this was a Spaceballs movie reference when I heard “ludicrous mode”. “Ludicrous speed” is attained by a spaceship in the Spaceballs movie.

It leaves us wondering what comes next for Tesla. Bizarre Mode? Singularity Generator? A test track built around the Large Hadron Collider? Actually, Musk is, yet again, one step ahead.

In a statement, the billionaire hinted: “There is of course only one thing beyond ludicrous, but that speed is reserved for the next generation Roadster in 4 years: maximum plaid.”

That’s an obscure reference to the ultimate speed in the universe, according to 1987 sci-fi spoof Spaceballs. Geeky movies aside, will human beings actually be able to cope with the sheer pace of the next Tesla Roadster? We’ll find out in 2019…

Here’s a ‘feature’ they added on April Fool’s Day:

Don’t buy Bell phone insurance. Get a great case with your money instead.