Solving City Council Problem

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. Aldous Huxley

Henry Braun’s suggestion that Abbotsford City Council adopt a policy of gathering ALL the facts, examining all these facts to determine what the issue/problem truly is and then basing Council’s actions and decisions on what the issue/problem was revealed to be……… is so contrary to the way Abbotsford’s City Council approaches issues and problems one has to wonder if Mr Braun’s approach stands any chance of being adopted by Council?

Council has consistently chosen to decide what they want to do, ignoring any and all evidence that does not support their desired course of action, commissioning reports to support Council’s intentions and hiring PR to develop a plan to Sell, Sell, Sell Council’s desired course of action to voters.

Mr Braun’s proposed approach abounds with common sense, perception and savvy – all behaviours Council has demonstrated aversion to employing; standing in marked contrast to Council’s commandment: Thou shalt not look in dusty corners where unknown answers hide.

So, is this a matter of distribution?  of supply?.

It is imperative that, in addressing this issue, we remember there is a major difference in the delivery of the Utility Services Water and Electricity.

There is currently no way to economically store and then distribute large amounts of electricity, while water is easily stored for later distribution.

That is why an electrical utility such as BC Hydro has to have the capacity to meet peak demand as it is occurring. BC Hydro’s ability to generate electricity overnight while people sleep and there is little demand, is of no importance because BC Hydro has no way to store the electricity and deliver it later to meet peak demand.

It is why southern Ontario is dotted with water towers. During scorching summer weather with its peak water demand, the water stored in the towers is used to meet peak demand for water and then refilled overnight (when demand is low but the supply remains fully accessible) to meet the next day’s demand.

The ability of water to be efficiently and economically stored was reflected in the report from experts after the ‘crisis’ of high water demand as a result of abnormally hot weather.

I had the opportunity to read this report where the experts stated that the problem was not with the water sources the City had, but with poor planning and design with the City’s reservoir which cannot be refilled overnight because the intake system is incapable of processing water to refill the reservoir quickly enough.

In light of this the experts recommendation that Abbotsford 1) build a second reservoir with intake capacity that would permit refilling the reservoir in a portion of the off peak hours available and 2) when the new reservoir is on line the old reservoir’s intake system be renovated to be capable of refilling in a timely manner and brought back on line.

As to redundancy, others experts hired to evaluate whether Council should fully upgrade the capacity of the Norrish Creek water system to the levels planned when Norrish Creek was originally developed had an interesting comment on redundancy.

Noting that the recommended full upgrade would mean the existing pipeline lacked the capacity to carry the total amount of water available, it was suggested that council consider building another pipeline which would permit all the water available after upgrade to be available for use. That not only would the second pipeline increase the water available from the upgrade, but it would reduce the stress on the original pipeline increasing lifespan and decreasing the probability of a leak or failure. And pointing out that having a second pipeline from Norrish Creek would provide protection of supply in the form of redundancy.

This leads to the conclusion that the water problem Abbotsford has is not supply but distribution; concurring with Mr Braun’s judgment that it is distribution, not supply, that the City needs to address.

Suggesting that Mr Braun is also correct in advocating a change from the current Council policy of deciding what course of action to undertake, finding or creating evidence to support the desired course of action and using a high pressure, ‘the sky is falling’ sales campaign to scare voters into accepting the need for Council’s desired actions; to a policy of gathering all the facts, analyzing the facts and setting out a course of action (or non-action) based on what the facts and analysis of the facts reveal.

Leave a Reply