Monday, August 25, 2008

The Economics Of Stupidity

I live in the suburbs. I like living in the suburbs. I choose to live here, for reasons that will become obvious, and have always aspired to own my own house; not "semi-detached" to someone else's, not a "townhome" which is nothing but a glorified apartment. I grew up in a neighbourhood similar in feel to the one I now reside in, and despite the squalling left's insistence to the contrary, there is still nothing quite like having your own little space, your own trees, your own yard, your own garage. I don't like sharing a common wall with my neighbour. I don't like sharing anything other than idle conversation with them. I realize that my dream is based on an outmoded ideal from the 1950's and am unapologetic about it. On the other hand, I also believe that everyone is entitled to live somewhere decent and most people buy what they can afford. It's unfortunate that our new ideal is cramming as many units per square kilometre as humanly possible. Density breeds discontent, at least in my mind. I've lived in apartments and semi-detached houses, and always feel like I can't quite breathe properly. A quarter of a million dollars doesn't get you much in 2008. So I do apologize if I come across as a gun-toting redneck, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Without getting in to the economics of such a prospect, the tale of which could fill a large book of it's own, suffice to say that I realize that living in Greater Suburbia comes at a cost. It's a lot of work and expense to maintain a small single-family home these days, some would say too much work. It's also a requirement to have at least one, and most often two cars, which contribute to global warming and unnecessarily clog our roads with traffic. I say bosh, flimshaw... Go big or go, uh, to a townhome / birdhouse. Maintenance is part of the deal. Many people I know privately agree with me on this, while publicly applauding the new high-density ideal that is scheduled for this neck of the woods. Yay! More low-income ne'er-do-wells stacked on top of one another!!! I'm literally bursting with anticipation for the density of this area - let's call it "Farrhaven" - to increase to inner-city levels in the faint hopes that the transit system will have more stops here, or that the city might deem it fit to include us in their light-rail plans (currently on indefinite hold). Our fine city counsellor (let's call him or her Jen Hasder) has publicly said so, and is drawing support from a disturbingly large chunk of the brainwashed public. I don't see her, (or him) building a third storey on his (or her) house and letting renters move in. All right, for the sake of clarity, the counsellor in question is a woman.

Sigh. Are people idiots, or is it merely my outsider perspective that sheds some seriously obvious light on the error of this plan? I can hear you saying "both", and you are correct, sir or madam.

Will the roads be appropriately widened to make room for the influx of new citizens driving to work and to shop? Will the newfound tax money be used for anything other than padding City employees' retirement funds and replacing the sodium lights in their private golf courses so they can play at night? Will we get better snowplowing in the winter and road maintenance in the summer? Will anyone explain why there are no f-ing sidewalks in this bloody town? Of course not. Will lip service and studies be paid to determine that none of these things are "within the budget"? Of course they will. In short, I firmly believe that there will be no increase in our services or in the quality of life here. Quite the contrary, in five years this nice little suburb may well already be victim to declining property values, higher crime rates and disintegrating infrastructure. By then, I'll be on my way out of here before the crystal-meth lab next door blows up in the middle of the night.