The CBC has identified some of the big infrastructures that Canada is in need of repairing, building, or enhancing. Living in Southwestern Ontario, I understand the need to enhance the Ontario/Michigan border crossing. Anyone who has sat in line at the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit/Windsor Tunnel or Bluewater Bridge knows that something has to be done. The Windsor-Essex Parkway is the answer, apparently. It’s not without its own problems though.
But there are major needs throughout the country. The Gardner Expressway is an expressway in need of a solution. I’ve driven it and loved it. Of course, that was on a day when there were no traffic issues. I’ve also been stuck idling there for it seems hours. I like the new express lane concepts but is that a solution that will last for a long time?
In “The Big Fix“, the CBC has summarized all of the big projects in one interactive map. It puts everything into perspective. The nightly news can focus on one story at time but this map lets you see the whole deal in one shot. Click on the red dots on the map to zero in on the various projects and read the rationale for each. It’s pretty hard to argue against any of them.
This is a perfect opportunity for students to dig into the diversity that is Canada and the regional importances of these major projects, keeping in mind that there are also other projects that don’t propose billions to solve! Each of the dots represent an opportunity for smaller classroom groupings to dig into regional needs and solutions.
A bigger question for politicians and ultimately tax payers is “Who is going to pay for all this?” The Big Fix site has you covered there. An interactive financing calculator enables you to try various scenarios to see if you can arrive at a solution. Here are the options that might come into play from the Federal government’s perspective…
Funding this is a very complex problem. Weigh the importance of the projects and try various combinations of Federal, Provincial or Municipal funding to see if your students can arrive at a solution.
The CBC has put together a really valuable site to help you and your students research and analyse for the purpose of seeing the big picture. Of course, you have to balance financial dealings but this would be a great launching point to discuss the importance of managing big projects to keep all regions productive.
I see this as a great resource and opportunity to do some current research and propose solutions to real problems.