I read through Stan Kincaid’s plans to build an eco-friendly housing development on the Bench in Terrace with great interest. His idea to utilize modern technology with a smaller housing footprint fits right into the necessity of behavioural change that is required to reduce every person’s personal participation in natural resource depletion.
Canada’s per person carbon dioxide emissions were 15.3 tons / capita in 2009. For comparison reasons and to put it into perspective: Qatar 44 tons, Australia 18.3, USA 17.2, Russia 11.0, Germany 9.4 and last on the list Afghanistan with 0.
Now we surely should not strive to be like Afghanistan, but rethinking how we live and having a productive dialogue along the lines of Mr. Kincaid’s plan is most certainly necessary.
His plan is also intriguing from a taxpayer’s perspective, or in reverse from a municipal budgeting perspective. The public infrastructure of Terrace, all its roads, water and sewage facilities etc. is predominantly financed via property taxes either by small businesses or by residents.
A city the size of Terrace with its existing acreage and roads connecting it all, would house approximtely 50,000 people in central Europe. Yes, I did actually map it all out via Google Earth and ran a one on one comparison.
Furthermore, his plan to utilize geothermal heating and cooling is the future for rural Canada. The idea or dream of the renewable energy lobbyists to connect all of Canada with renewable energy sources (wind, solar, tidal, hydro, etc.) is impossible to achieve due to the size of the country and the comparatively small number of Canadian’s population.
The rates for power would explode, as they have in Germany over the last 20 years, where the average rate per kWh is five times higher compared to BC’s rates.
Rural Canada’s energy future lies not in grand macro-solutions, but in small local solutions. For Terrace this could be geothermal, for other areas in rural Canada, which are not blessed by BC’s geography of mountain ranges and water everywhere, it might be wind or solar.
For a long time it will still be natural gas as the cleanest burning fossil fuel we have, or for our region the development of community legacies derived from the LNG developments (community heating, large scale greenhouse operations, natural gas public transportation fleets, etc.)
So, one would think that Mr. Kincaid would be applauded for his plan and his commitment to be innovative, until the banana (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone) crowd rears its head.
Armed with prejudice such as “over time we’re going to attract the wrong crowd up there” and unwavering bias, is a good idea being ridiculed and put into question, where no question should be.
Instead of starting the discussion with a blatant no, one would hope for a more productive sharing of ideas along the lines of how can we make this work and how can we as future neighbours help Mr. Kincaid shape his plans and make it fit.
If only a few of the major projects currently being proposed in our region make it to the finish line, we will see a population increase in Terrace.
Make no mistake, the investments into the mall, new hotels and new businesses in town are all based on the premise that some of the major projects will go ahead and will be built.
This increase in population will require innovative and new ideas. It will require open minds towards these new ideas and the ability to have productive dialogue and see the bigger picture.
The ability of a community to keep living in it affordable, both for businesses and residents, is tightly connected with the ability of its leadership to develop the community with a vision and new innovative ideas. Ideas as they were presented to council by Stan Kincaid.