Where's the excitement?
On the surface, it looks like the dream of a regional rec-plex is stuck on some back burner. We're optimistic that in fact, going ahead with an indoor swimming pool is going to turn out to be a big step forward.
It's the old story about what's the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. We also like the saying, "Where there's a will, there's a way." And how about "Necessity is the mother of invention?"
It's true that a $15 or $17 million rec plex would be a fine addition to the region. It's also true that bits and pieces built over the next few years can likely be built several years before one big complex will be built.
The swimming pool is just one item that, out of the way, kick starts other ideas. Practice ice? If the Sports Palace is in good shape, why not use the curling rink surface and build a new curling rink with add ons? Cultural centre? Maybe it's time to bring that idea back. The old outdoor pool? Would it make a good start on a skateboard park?
We're not saying any one idea is better than another. Nor are we advocating any particular idea. We are saying that now that a particular direction is established let's get on with two things.
First, let's make the indoor pool the best darn facility in Alberta, without distracting from ideas down the road.
Two, let's start looking hard at those ideas. They are not dead by any means at all. We can make them work, one bite at a time.
They can manage, we can't
Edmonton Mayor Bill Smith says the cost of city cops works out to just $11 per month for the average household in Edmonton.
Mayor Bill says that's a heckuva deal, considering it costs at least $25 per month for something as simple as an alarm monitoring system for a house. Using the same sort of thinking, High Prairie residents pay about $35 per month for cops. Just over 3 times as much as Edmonton. But still, about the same amount as the alarm company. Gee, what a deal!
Something is screwy here. Maybe it isn't that police are so cheap, which they are not. Maybe instead, it's because alarm systems are so expensive. One has to wonder, just how much it would cost per month for an alarm if it was mandatory every house and business in Edmonton had to be alarmed?
But, we are getting away from the story.
Not only is High Prairie paying 3 times what Edmonton pays (and still getting a heckuva deal by the way) Edmonton rakes in a ton of cash in fines and tickets.
High Prairie gets about $40,000 a year in fines. Edmonton, maybe $40 million. With all that money to work with, Edmonton still has problems with no end of gangs and drug dealers and stabbings and assaults. Not to mention, they have so many speeders they have to use photo radar and red light cameras to catch them!
In the end, Edmonton is paying 18 per cent of its total budget for police. That's offset immensely by fine revenue, bringing it down to 14 per cent or so. High Prairie, even using fine revenue, pays 43 per cent of its total budget for police.
Maybe alarms look cheap by comparsion. All it means is, you can twist numbers around to even make mud look clear. Edmonton has nothing to complain about at all.
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