I was telling my friend how it hurts to love the people here so much but detest the infrastructure, the mayor, the premier, the mosquitos, wasted money on expensive overages on buildings, just general type chatter.
All of a sudden a couple of thoughts hit me that made sense when it came to helping solve some of the issues that are current today.
Our abysmal road conditions have put all of us in a funk in Winnipeg. Sure, they may be doing a “mass fix” right now but this is just a bandaid on a problem and not a long term solution.
I think if we did the metrics on accidents and causes, we would see that not only are the highest percentages registered in Winnipeg, but that road conditions would have something do do with them.
MPI, our lovely car insurance option…..oh yeah, that is right, no option at all….is the sole provider.
Did you know that MPI shows record profits on a regular basis? As an example, the first 6 months of 2013 showed a 42 million dollar profit. They raised rates that year as well. Another story for another time.
42 million in profit. That is after they fixed up everything and settled their claims. So you would think, that since MPI is a “not for profit” organization that is built to take care of the needs of Manitobans, that we should be able to pump that money right back into the infrastructure, or roads, that all the insured vehicles travel on.
Would it not make sense for MPI to help improve the roads, therefore, lower accidents and increase road safety, which is what they are all about?
How about they pump a significant amount of that money back into practicing what they preach.
They can sure talk about speeding. Talk about texting. Maybe I would get warm and fuzzy if they did the right thing and told us they were going to help make our streets safer by helping to make our streets.
That, to me, is a proper use of profits.
They are called “Manitoba Public Insurance” are they not?
Now what about a plan for our other “owned” entity. Manitoba Hydro.
I checked out their 2014 end of year statement.
174 Million in net income.
2.716 Billion in retained earnings.
Fantastic numbers. How about we spread the wealth a little bit and fix a problem at the same time.
Since we like to tag our city with names like “Spirited Energy” (man I hated that one) and “Friendly Manitoba” (again…if you are friendly, do you need to tell people?) how about we do some things to make it more spirited and friendly.
Lets fix our downtown a little.
We pride ourselves on power, and Manitoba Hydro loves us to change our lights, our water heaters, our furnaces, and all sorts of changes to give them power that they can sell out of province for more.
Lets take that one step further.
If we were to take our downtown core, and by that I mean from Broadway north to Higgins, and from the Waterfront, west to University of Winnipeg, and focus on that area to help rid it of crime.
One very successful method used in other cities is to use technology to help curb crime.
What if Manitoba Hydro threw some of those billions as helping to light up our downtown.
To date, our downtown has to rank as one of the dirtiest, most crime ridden areas, of Canada.
One tactic would be to cover that whole area with low power usage LED lights. I suggest a lighting style that would light ALL of the area named from about 10 feet down. Now by lighting it up, I mean in the evenings, having lighting that would be about 2/3 of what you would find during daytime. Lights would be kept lower so as to provide the needed light to people walking, but not disturb people who live in the apartments and hi rises downtown.
Complimenting this, we would position affordable HD IP cameras at each corner. These cameras can be had for a reasonable price, and by both lighting, and recording, our core area, we would drive away bad behaviour without pointing fingers.
Criminals don’t like the light, anymore than rats and cockroaches do.
Light the back lanes, the streets, sidewalks, and parks. There is no downside to this as the power use would be less than currently used by old technology street lights. We would show initiative towards green power usage and do it in a way that would make our downtown a lot safer.
No criminal element is going to want to commit crime in a well lit and recorded area.
We provide a solution that doesn’t require any additional manpower, and it flows with what our province is about. Energy.
Two small ideas that would better direct spending by publicly owned corporations, and serve a much larger purpose overall.