Studied to Death…(and just one more comment about water availability.)

The issue of affordable housing has now literally been studied to death, with the last “affordable” (as per Islands Trust definition <$270,000) home on Salt Spring having been sold recently.

Over two dozen studies over about 30 years have been done on the subject. That would be a significant number of studies if they were talking about BC in general, but, I’m talking about Salt Spring and the Islands Trust Area.

The issue is now a joke…a bad joke…but a joke nonetheless. As real estate AND construction prices rise, both the Provincial and local government bureaucrats have failed to realize the magnitude of the issue, let alone address it sensibly.

The latest report that only 71 rental units of some 1500 planned have been completed Province wide because of delays (read regulations, red tape, lack of funding, etc.) only underscores the ridiculousness of government trying to fix what amounts to a market problem.

If the Province really wanted to “fix” the problem it would hire someone like Jimmy Pattison to set up a 3 person panel to administer funding to projects on a commercial appraisal basis. Have the proponent get a commercial appraiser to give an end value on a project and lend money based on an insured mortgage basis at the lowest possible interest rate the Province can get. Cut through the red tape.

On a local level, the Islands Trust should make blanket rezoning changes to allow affordable housing, instead of the one by one, death by a thousand rezonings process that currently plagues progress and infuriates each neighbourhood as the NIMBY card is played, usually by someone who has moved here in the last 20 years.

Its not good enough. It’s 2019 and planning for community housing should have started in 1974 with the passage of the Islands Trust Act. They have had 45 years to come up with a plan dealing with the effects of limiting a commodity in an area of high demand.

And While I’ve Got Your Ear, One More Comment About Availability of Water (in My Continuing Comments About Water)

The Islands Trust should get out of the water business entirely.

Remove ALL requirements for water servicing from the Land Use Bylaw and OCP, and replace them with a very simple covenant required to be placed on title at the time of rezoning or subdivision – “All buildings which require to be serviced by water must either prove availability of water from a source of water at a rate equal to or greater than the equivalent of a rainfall catchment area of 1500 square feet, with sufficient storage, if necessary, to meet BC Building Code requirements.” Period. Stop.

If a property owner can’t meet Building Code water requirements without building a rainwater catchment system (e.g. well, water system) then they have to build a catchment system to obtain their permit to build.

I repeat – The time to prove availability of water is not at rezoning, or even subdivision, but at the time of  building permit application.

A recent subdivision of an entire small island was approved on that basis by the CRD. All lots have rainwater catchment covenants on them because THERE WAS NO WATER ON THE ISLAND. You want to build on one of the lots you MUST submit your rainwater catchment plans with your permit application.

The idea that Islands Trust requirements for water somehow magically guarantee water will still be available in 20 years from now on any particular property isn’t a bet I would take. An earthquake could kill a well or a forest fire could result in sedimentation of the Maxwell watershed making the entire water system servicing Ganges unusable.

However, I would bet that 20 years from now it will still be raining here, and, that desalination will be as cost effective per gallon as any other source of water.

No one is going to die from dehydration here. Ditch the water requirements.

The next time someone tells you Salt Spring has a water problem put on your best shocked look and exclaim to them, “Oh my God…Did it stop raining at your place? Where do you live? How are you still alive? Can I get you some water?”

And yes, I know how sarcastic that sounds, but, there are still those who actually believe Salt Spring has a water problem. If you are one of them, I urge you to stand out in the rain for an hour or so and contemplate the above. The truth may just soak in.

 

 

 

A Pro-Life Argument You Have Likely Never Heard…Your 1st Seven Days in Inner Space

The following is meant to take a cold, hard, scientific look at the issue of abortion. You may not like what you are about to read, but, that’s the nature of reality sometimes.

I think we can start with the agreement that terminating the life of a 1 year old is not okay.

One year old

If we proceed back in time, we hopefully can agree terminating a 1 day old is also not “okay.”

New born baby

However, just before what we call birth, we enter into the gray area where agreement and opinions on “okayness” become extremely fuzzy.

But first, let’s take a look at that moment just after birth, when the newborn child’s umbilical cord is still attached and providing blood, oxygen and nutrients, while efficiently eliminating waste.

Umbilical.jpg

Here’s my first question – is it the child’s umbilical cord, or the mother’s umbilical cord?

New born and placenta

 

Well, let’s look at what specifically the umbilical cord is attached to – the new born child at one end and the placenta on the other.

My related second and third questions are (a) what is the placenta, and (b) is it the newborn’s or the mother’s placenta?

Here’s the definition of the placenta – “The placenta is a temporary organ that connects the developing fetus via the umbilical cord to the uterine wall to allow nutrient uptake, thermo-regulation, waste elimination, and gas exchange via the mother’s blood supply; to fight against internal infection; and to produce hormones which support pregnancy.”

A “temporary organ”…so far, so good, BUT, that doesn’t answer the question – whose “temporary organ” is it?

Let’s look at how the placenta forms.

Take a few minutes and watch this animated video of the process.

“The placenta begins to develop upon implantation of the blastocyst into the maternal endometrium. The outer layer of the blastocyst becomes the trophoblast, which forms the outer layer of the placenta.”

So the placenta starts at the moment of “…implantation of the blastocyst”…. In other words, when the independent fertilized human egg implants/attaches itself to the mother…

Travelling a little further back in time….What is a blastocyst? The blastocyst is “A thin-walled hollow structure in early embryonic development that contains a cluster of cells called the inner cell mass from which the embryo arises. The outer layer of cells gives rise to the placenta and other supporting tissues needed for fetal development within the uterus while the inner cell mass cells gives rise to the tissues of the body.

Take a moment to reread that. The placenta is formed, not from the mother’s body, but, from the cells of the blastocyst, and, from the genetic information contained in the blastocyst, NOT the mother’s DNA, nor from the mother’s body.

So, now we know that a placenta is not formed by the mother, nor is it part of the mother, but, is in fact, part of and formed by the blastocyst.

Now, how and where does a blastocyst “begin”?

To answer that question, let’s jump right back to the moment of conception, when the joining together of a human egg and human sperm results in a flash of light (see https://youtu.be/ovzGmRrtVys ) , and cell division begins.

Conception

conception 2

This is a link to a great video explanation of the process from pre-fertilization to implantation.  (The following provides a text description)

At the moment of conception, the human sperm, from the male donor, and the human egg from the female donor, got together and become the zygote.

But, “where” exactly was the human egg when the sperm entered it?

You may say, why obviously it was in the woman’s body. That is true, but it doesn’t answer the actual question. The human egg, prior to fertilization, was in the woman’s ovaries, from where it was “released” at ovulation.

Arguably, that “release” or “detachment” is akin to the release of the sperm from the male’s testicles.

At the point of conception, “Day 1,” while it occurs within the woman’s body, neither the egg, nor the sperm, are attached to the woman’s body. They are both floating around in the space within the woman’s body.

astronaut

Once conception has occurred the independent, fertilized egg, the sum product of BOTH the sperm and the egg, the zygote, does what?

If it is lucky, after four days of floating, it has evolved into a morula, and after about a week of surviving floating around in “inner space,” like an astronaut floating around in outer space, now a blastocyst, it lands and attaches itself to the woman’s body seeking nourishment in the form of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to grow. As described above, the formation, from the blastocyst’s outer layer, begins, which becomes the outer layer of the placenta.

It is worth noting at this juncture that the blastocyst contains ALL the genetic information/knowledge needed to PRODUCE itself…all it essentially needs is food and oxygen to grow, and a safe place to grow in.

Note the fact that the blastocyst attaches itself. The mother does not attach herself to the blastocyst. It is the blastocyst which is reaching out to the mother for food, just like a baby naturally does when it is first born.

The points I am making here are:

  1. The successful sperm is independent until conception,
  2. The recipient egg is independent until conception,
  3. The fertilized egg (the zygote, morula and blastocyst) is independent after conception and is unarguably not part of the mother’s body for about the first 7 days,
  4. After the egg has attached itself, and throughout pregnancy, the placenta, formed by the blastocyst, is a temporary organ of the new human being, which is attached to the woman’s body as a life support delivery system.

In other words, during the entirety of pregnancy, the independent human being which is growing, and being fed by the mother, is as dependent upon the mother’s body, as it is dependent upon nourishment from the mother after birth.

cleavage

The “pro-choice” argument is that a woman can do whatever she wants with “her own body,” but, according to science, the egg, the sperm, the zygote, the morula, the blastocyst, the placenta, the embryo, the fetus, the baby, the human being, are NOT “part” of a mother’s body. In fact we all are, and have been, a separate body…one which started its life inside a woman.

Therefore, technically, a woman does not have the capacity to “reproduce,” because that is not actually what happens during human reproduction. Scientifically she acts only as a temporary host and nourisher for her child which is the product of the mother’s egg and the father’s sperm. The mother is perhaps best described as a nourishing provider.

In my opinion, the above is the scientific argument which should be made, not only in a court of law and the court of human opinion, but, as part of the educational system. Every child old enough to understand should understand exactly how their life began.

Our current understanding of science, whether one likes it or not, is definitive.

Every single reader of this article began in a flash of light, as a fertilized egg, as a blastocyst, floating around in their mother’s body, looking for nourishment. Looking for a place to rest and feed for 9 months, using the life support system it created (placenta), to receive the nourishment we required, before being launched into this world as an independent body.

Pro-choice advocates have it wrong on this particular point – Abortion is not about a woman’s body, it is, scientifically, about their child’s body.

That’s the harsh, scientific reality.

Now, the primary debate is then – “when” does human life begin?

I have always asked those who support abortion this question, ” Can you tell me, with any certainty, when, and at what exact millisecond, from the moment of conception, to the first breath,  does human life begin?

No one, including the highest courts, has been able to provide anything other than generalized, unscientific points in time – e.g. up until the 1st trimester, up until 24 weeks, etc..

Those are not scientifically supported responses.

From one cell, to two, to four, to eight, etc. there is nowhere in that time continuum of life’s cell divisions, which can be said you or I were not human. Nor, do the various terms which science has provided (e.g. zygote, morula, blastocyst, embryo, fetus, etc.) do anything other than describe, for descriptive convenience sake only, arbitrarty and various points of time in the continuum of life.

The reality is this – it is impossible within life’s time continuum to point to any specific milli-second after conception to say that this is the moment your life “began.”

Thus, science tells us we each began our lives as an independent fertilized egg, and, we each were lucky enough to land, first on our mother’s uterine wall, and then eventually on our own two feet.

In between, like every other form of life, we hope to survive.

The questions which remain unanswered are the moral questions – if a developing human being is NOT part of a woman’s body, does the woman have a moral responsibility to protect the individual growing insider her, and likewise therefore, does the state have the right to protect the individual?

That’s the outstanding question which society has been struggling with.

However, the existing Supreme Court ruling on the issue, in my opinion, doesn’t go far enough. However, it is interesting that in the Roe v Wade ruling, the Court left the door ajar.

The Court’s opinion in 1973 stated, “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, in this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.” “At the level of medical science available in the early 1970s, the beginning of the third trimester was normally considered to be the point at which a fetus became viable. Therefore, the Court ruled that during the third trimester the state had a compelling interest in protecting prenatal life, and could legally prohibit all abortions except where necessary to protect the mother’s life or health.”

The recent legislation passed in a variety of American states will eventually result in a reexamination of the “question.”

This appears to be an inevitable path forward.

Our understanding of human life has advanced significantly over the past 46 years. It will be interesting to see how the debate of the issue evolves.

However, in my opinion, the “woman’s body” argument can now be severely challenged. Rather it will come down to the moral predicament that occurs when, after two adults engage in intercourse, their union results in the union of an egg and sperm, and the beginning of a human life…their baby’s life.

To violently remove a developing human being from its life support system begs many questions, not the least of which is whether the state/society has the right to create laws to protect humans at the most vulnerable period of their lives.

I would suggest perhaps the best direction to take would be to take a “scared straight” approach to the issue, and expose those of childbearing age to the miracle of life, and the potential consequences of sexual intercourse.

The 60’s sexual revolution, the failure of the Pill and Roe v Wade gave us this chart:Abortion rates

The good news is abortion rates are declining and have been since about 1980. The hope would be, that those rates continue to decline through greater education.

Finally in my personal opinion, both sides of the issue should be concentrating on how to reduce unwanted pregnancies before they start (through education, contraception, etc.), to support those pregnant women who need support, and to enforce father/parental support.

However, on the question of protecting fellow human beings, there should be universal agreement…one would hope.

2001

Zero Sum Game?

zero sum game: a situation in which one person or group can win something only by causing another person or group to lose it. 

I just pulled the current homes for sale on Salt Spring Island statistics off of the Victoria MLS System.

The lowest priced home on Salt Spring, in which you can live in year round, is a 974 square foot, 50 year old, 1969 mobile home, while the second is a 1,018 square foot condo, that is 29 years old, for $449,000.

The required income to purchase mobile is around $70,000/year, while the condo unit would be over $80,000/year.

In other words, there is no longer ANYTHING (okay…ONE) which could be considered “affordable” by the average working family on the island, using the 2015 median income of families of $70,366/year.

The number is ZERO… that’s a “0” with as many 0’s following it as you want to put.

Victoria MLS Salt Spring Nov.11/19 Income
Price Range Homes # listed Av$ Required
0 $149,000 0
150000 $199,000 0
200000 $299,000 0
300000 $399,000 1 $339,000 70,000+
400000 $499,000 5 $475,180 80,000+
500000 $599,000 7 $579,071 100,000+
600000 $699,000 12 $665,866 100,000+
700000 $799,000 11 $768,277 100,000+
800000 $899,000 9 $853,888 100,000+
900000 $999,000 3 $978,333 100,000+
1000000 $1,499,999 18 $1,244,277 100,000+
1500000 $1,999,999 7 $1,768,257 100,000+
2000000 $2,999,999 4 $2,447,500 100,000+
3000000 $3,999,999 1 $3,499,000 100,000+
4000000 $4,999,999 0
5000000 and up 0
Total 78

Compare those numbers with these from the 2015 IWAV updated  Salt Spring Housing Needs Assessment.

Table 36 – MLS listings – Single Family, Condos and Town Homes Available 2009-2015
Price Range # listed
2009
# listed
2014
Change
2009-2014
# listed
2015
Change 2009-2015
0 149,000 0 0 0 0 0 n/a
150,000 199,000 0 0 0 1 1 n/a
200,000 299,000 1 11 10 4 3 300%
300,000 399,000 12 53 41 31 19 158%
400,000 499,000 27 30 3 18 -9 -33%
500,000 599,000 25 41 16 29 4 16%
600,000 699,000 18 28 10 14 -4 -22%
700,000 799,000 17 13 -4 9 -8 -47%
800,000 899,000 16 11 -5 4 -12 -75%
900,000 999,000 13 9 -4 12 -1 -8%
1,000,000 and up 46 21 -25 46 0 0%
Total # 175 217 42 168 -7 -4%
Median $ 749,000 549,000 -200,000 639,000 -110,000 -15%
Average $ 1,001,757 688,486 -313,271 1,026,361 24,604 2%

BUT, the good news is…oh wait…there isn’t really any good news here.

Due to the increase in real estate values since 2015 (median house price up 10% from $749,000 to $825,000), with the average house price now…wait for it… $1,026,284….investors who have been holding on to rental properties are now selling them off and realizing a return on their investments. Why would anyone rent out a home worth $600,000 for $2,000/month, when the mortgage/tax/insurance carrying costs are likely over $4,000/month?

And, due to the poor rental rate of return VS purchase price, virtually none of the rental properties sold are being continued on as rentals. Rents can’t cover mortgages, especially when the federal government has reduced amortization terms from 35 to 25 years, AND, demanded people qualify at 2% above prime.

So, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why do you suppose are the fundamental, underlying, rational, common sense reasons real estate values are so high here, and with so few listings? (Hint – think supply/demand)
  2. If you were a betting person, would you bet home prices on the island will be higher 10 years from now or lower?
  3. How many renters will be given their notices to move out over the next 10 years?
  4. How many workers are currently couch surfing or living in cars or tents, or are renting their accommodation?
  5. How many workers are currently commuting to Salt Spring?
  6. Is the housing crisis, which has been acknowledged by the Islands Trust in over 24 studies over the same number of years, going to get better, or worse over the next 10 years?
  7. Long term, how many community housing dwellings (similar to Whistler’s employee housing which now boasts 1900 units) will Salt Spring need over the next 50 years?
  8. Given NIMBYists and BANANAists decrying virtually every proposed development rezoning (including Meadowlane and Croftonbrook) when do you think it will be easier to rezone land for community housing, now? Or in 10 years?

The “zero sum game” here is this – In order to increase density for the long term health of the community, some community members are going to have to lose their sense of entitlement to less traffic, less people, less children, less noise, less disturbance… or, the community will die.

I grew up here, in a community which really cared for itself. Currently, I see that wonderful rurality of characters, artists, artisans, bakers, musicians, etc. slowly ebbing away, with no leadership to take the helm, and no vision of the future. In fact, the blindness and speed at which this community is proceeding off the cliff is staggering.

Open your eyes…its all happening right before them.

 

 

11,000 What? Zoo Keepers?

11,000 “Scientists” or 11,000 “What”?

Chloe Allen is a “zoo keeper” from Jersey.

Parisa Alidoostsalimi is just some guy with no listed credentials from Iran.

Brett Abbott is a landscape ecologist from Australia.

Ahmed Abdelmoneim is some guy with no listed credentials from the USA.

Valentina AbrilMelgarejo is a PhD STUDENT in astrophysics from France.

Maged Abutaha is a “researcher” in who knows what from Egypt.

All are on the list of the reported 11,000 “scientists” worldwide.

These are not “Climate Scientists.”

In fact the word “climate” only occurs 158 times in the entire list of 11,000 “whats.”

“Atmospheric” only occurs 64 times.

“Student” occurs 974 times.

Don’t believe me? Do a word search on the linked pdf above.

This list would be laughable, except the gullible masses worldwide are sucking this one up and passing the doom predictions of ordinary  zoo keepers.

Lions and tigers and bears….oh my!!! The sky is falling!!!

Lions and tigers