Crumbling Around Us

‘Infrastructure’ is a word that I hear used frequently at this time of year, and it is usually preceded by the word ‘decaying’. Infrastructure is the basic underlying framework that supports virtually everything. From the organizations that we work for, to the sewers that we flush our waste through, everything has an infrastructure and according to the media they are all decaying! This can’t be a good thing, can it?


Now I’m sure that not every infrastructure is on the verge of total collapse, some things must be working fine with the underlying structure supporting it the way it was meant to. Look at social media, it seems to be working fine because I know far more about strangers and their activities then I care too. Hell, I know more about friends than I care too!! So the social media infrastructure must be a long way from decaying. If it fell apart what would the Kardashian’s do?? They might have to get jobs!!!


No the decaying infrastructure that I hear the most about is the infrastructure that supports our day-to-day lives. Our roads and sewers, our schools and health care, these are the things that seem to be falling apart beneath us. The costs to repair these aging support systems has become staggering and no matter what country you live in, your country can’t seem to afford to repair its existing infrastructure. We all seem to be in the same boat.


The pipes are rusting, the concrete is crumbling and no matter how much money we throw at it they never seem to get better! The tax burden of every citizen to support the infrastructure in Canada is 42%. Almost half the money I make goes back into the government’s hand so they can what? Not fix anything?!! Why are the roads disappearing under our feet?? Why are so many towns and villages under ‘boil water’ advisories?? Why is nothing getting fixed??? Why is Facebook the only thing working properly???


In my area at this time of year (spring), roads and the water delivery system are the most evident of all the decaying infrastructures. In the spring it is not uncommon to turn on the tap and have the water come out discoloured. Why do we say it is ‘DIS’-coloured?? Why am I not saying “my water is coloured” when I phone the government water people? I can tell you why… because the fools would ask me what colour it is!! What does it matter??? Water doesn’t have any colour!!!


I know that in some countries water of any colour coming out of a tap would be life saving, but I’m not there and I pay to have my water come out of the tap clear and safe, not brown!! The water authority tells me that the pipes are old and that this is just some of the sediments” flushing” out of the system. They actually say “flushing”!! Why would you tell a man staring at shit coloured water coming out of his taps, that the system is “flushing”??!! Wouldn’t ‘clearing’ be a better choice of words??? Then they tell me it’s safe! They then suggest that I run the taps until the brown is gone. I’m paying for this water!! You’re charging me and my neighbours for every drop!!! You want me to just turn the taps on and let them run??? How about a discount?? Or better yet… how about fixing your infrastructure!!!


Our roads in the spring make the news. Huge ‘sink-holes’ appear out of nowhere that swallow vehicles, and overland flooding from snow-melt and swollen rivers make roads that were there yesterday, gone today.  The roads in my province take a beating from Mother Nature and the constant weight of heavy trucking and the even heavier farm equipment that abuse them. The roads are a mess and so are the bridges and the only infrastructure work I see are a couple of guys driving around with a pick-up full of asphalt shovelling it into potholes.


There is construction on the Trans-Canada Highway every year, and yes this sometimes includes repairing multiple infrastructure issues all at once, but for the most part the only concern that is being addressed is road related. Currently the issue that is being addressed is the widening of the Trans-Canada Hwy to allow for an increase in speed to 110kph.


There is a bridge that spans the Trans-Canada Hwy; it was struck on the under-side by a truck carrying a large generator that exceeded the clearance. The resulting damage to the highway overpass required one of its three lanes to be removed for the span of the highway below. I drive over or under this bridge every day!! Cement barricades are the only thing between me and a thirty foot plunge to the highway below!! This happened six years ago!! They’ve reconstructed 200km of Trans-Canada highway in that time!!! I don’t know what I’m more afraid of, driving over it or driving under it. I just know that one morning in darkness, I’ll round the approach to this bridge and it won’t be there and my only hope is I’m not the first one to discover this. Fix the freakin’ bridge already!!!


Infrastructure is crucial to the existence of any civilization. From the highest levels of government, to the way we dispose of our waste and harness our energy, infrastructure keeps it all running. When infrastructure breaks down there is chaos. Things don’t get done or they become too costly to do.  This is where most developed countries appear to currently be. Their aging infrastructure is in dire need of some TLC and they all seem to be asking themselves the same question, do we repair what is broken or… do we build ourselves a new stadium?




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