Citizens at City Hall (CATCH) report, "City council is facing pressure from a variety of sources to complete their long-delayed response to the 2006 peak oil study.
Oil prices reached new records last week, crossing $106 a barrel on Thursday, and generating new converts to the controversial theory that the world is near, at or past the point of maximum production and headed toward very rapid price increases. The price is nearly double the $55 a barrel it stood at when Richard Gilbert presented his peak oil report in April 2006.
At that time, council unanimously asked their staff to provide a report on a follow-up study three weeks later, but that part of the motion seems to have gotten lost. It was revived again in February of last year and has sat since then on the outstanding business list of the Committee of the Whole.
The Aerotropolis idea was first floated in 2002, back when oil was sitting around $20 US per barrel. When Gilbert gave his report, the price of oil had climbed close to $60 per barrel.
Now, it's close to $110 US per barrel, an increase since 2002 of about five times. Given that the long-term viability of goods transportation by air is closely tied to energy costs - it is the most fuel-inefficient mode of transportation - what does the skyrocketing price of oil say about the wisdom of building the Aerotropolis?
It seems like in this city (maybe it's actually a global problem), people in positions of authority or influence ignore the facts, or deny the facts, or just pursue their own interests regardless of what's best for people or the planet. When reality finally becomes undeniable, they just continue on as if nothing ever happened.
Here in Hamilton, they also tend to get re-elected.
If the Aerotropolis gets built in spite of all this advance warning, the people responsible for the debacle will probably still be in power ten years later. Or at least, they will not have apologized.
Watch what happens with Red Hill. If it's a dismal failure do you think its architects will stand up and say, "I'm sorry I led Hamilton down this path even though I was warned. I'm sorry for the pain I've caused the citizens of Hamilton and the damage done to your environment. I'm sorry for all the money wasted that could have gone to something else. I resign."
I doubt it!
The people responsible for Red Hill, and the ones who are mulling a decision about the Aerotropolis, will be quick to take credit for the successes of those projects, if indeed they are successful. If they are not successful, let's make them accountable.
After all, they can't say they weren't warned.
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