Bridge Tolls – the ‘could they not have come up with a better system edition’

Golden Ears Bridge Image 1
I am so glad the stupid bridge tolls are gone. And not because I minded paying the tolls (to be clear, I was not a fan but I get that we all have to pay for things). My beef was the completely moronic, idiotic way the billing for the tolls was set up.
I paid all of our tolls months ago. I gathered up the invoices and paid them, one by one, through Treo and Quickpass. Deb went to do something on her insurance today only to be told she still owed tolls. Given that we had received no invoices since November and we hadn’t moved, I really had no idea how this was possible.
Part of the problem was that there were 2 companies responsible for bridge tolls in the lower mainland: Treo and Quickpass. You could merge your Treo and Quickpass together or leave them separate. If you got a new vehicle or different vehicle and you were not aware that you had tolls on the old vehicle you could essentially end up with 4 different bills when the tolls were stopped in September of 2017.
Like a responsible citizen, I gathered up all of our invoices and paid all the tolls in October. We no longer received any invoices and thought all was fine, until today.
Turns out that Deb had a Treo bill from when she had her truck. We traded her truck in when I got my truck in May of 2015. So, for 3 years these tolls sat there accumulating interest and no one told us they existed. Because the amount was under $25 she had no issue getting insurance services and had the tolls not been eliminated in September this would still be the case (for those of you not resident here – if you had outstanding tolls of less than $25 then they didn’t deny you insurance/driver’s license services). In fact, we both got our licences renewed in June and July of 2017.
Just for shits and giggles, I checked my license plate – I owe them $.27. Yes, 27 cents. I go to pay the 27 cents and the minimum payment is $1.00. Oh and I can’t call them today because it’s a holiday. Will the fun never end?
So why I am I ranting about this now? I fear what is going to happen if/when we move to a road pricing system. Will it be one system or will it be 2 or more? Given the fact that we have 21 different municipalities in Metro Vancouver, it’s quite possible we could end up with multiple systems that don’t speak to each other all with staff groups to chase money. I sincerely hope the government gives people the opportunity to give feedback before any road pricing system is implemented. Who would have thought they could screw up 2 bridges as much as they did.

Are the BC Greens Really Serious?


John Horgan, Andrew Weaver
All smiles now!*

I am going to preface this post with the fact that I am over the moon about the NDP-Green coalition taking power in BC. We were about 8 years overdue for a regime change. It will nice to see a little bit of compassion coming out of Victoria instead of the usual, victim-blaming detritus. I think John Horgan did an amazing job with the election and I am pleased he will (most likely) have the chance to serve as our premier.

 
I am finding it a bit odd that Andrew Weaver, environmentalist and passionate Green, would not want to be in Cabinet. In coalition governments, quite often, the cabinet will be representative of the agreement. Here is a chance for Weaver to get out of the weeds of Opposition and find out what it’s like to govern. So, why then, would he choose not to be part of Cabinet?
 
I have my theories. I think that by not being in Cabinet, Weaver has plausible deniability if/when some things happen that the Greens oppose. He will be able to say that it was all the NDP and they supported them on confidence matters. It’s really easy when you are in the opposition, with no hope of ever forming government, to just simply oppose for opposition’s sake. Once you are part of government and actually responsible for passing legislation, you actually begin to see what actually goes into making governmental policy. It’s not as easy as saying: No pipelines (as BC is about to find out very soon and the topic of another post) is easy to say but hard to implement. Or proportional representation – very easy when you are in opposition but a huge undertaking to implement. Just remember, it took them more than 18 months to undo the HST and revert to the PST.
 
I think if Weaver and the Greens are really interested in government then one of them should step up and get a cabinet post. The most logical person is Weaver.
*Image from this link.

The Good, the bad and the ugly – Radium 2012

I tried to write this yesterday but I couldn’t put a cogent sentence together to save my life!

The Good

Podollan Inn – Salmon Arm

We have stayed at this hotel before. It is awesome for people with dogs. They have some rooms that have direct outdoor access, which is fabulous for getting the dogs out to pee.[1] Plus the floors are ceramic tiles so no worrying if there are accidents. We also had a fully fenced little patio area. The Podollan was also extremely understanding about the mudslide. They agreed to hold our room and not charge us if we had to cancel at the last minute.

RCMP/CVSE in Golden

Every available piece of road was blocked with trucks. They were on the side streets and the parking lots.

We arrived in Golden on Wednesday evening and couldn’t get through because of the mudslide. At first we thought we might go the long way but that was also blocked by a washed out road and some precarious inland ferries. So we waited it out. We were pretty much at the front of the line to get out of Golden. This was a great place to be as we could get up to the minute information if we wanted. I found the CVSE, RCMP and the flaggers to be extremely polite and helpful – as long as people were nice to them. At one point they started letting trucks through to the weigh scales – except for one trucker who had hassled them the day before. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the last one to get out of Dodge!

At the road block in Golden waiting to go

Friends

We went out for dinner with some very old friends in Calgary. We had an excellent time even though we waited 1.5 hours for a table![2] It was nice to have lots of time to sit and chat and reconnect. We also had some interesting discussion about the false intimacy that can be generated by Facebook.[3]

Piper and Sawyer

What can we say about these 2 dogs? They were amazing. They spent over 12 hours in the car on Thursday and didn’t complain at all. I have never seen dogs behave this well. They are rock stars! Sawyer also had a great time with my sister’s new puppy. After about 2 days he was looking for some Gigi repellant!

Mountain Restaurant – Lake Louise

I had the best freaking burger ever at this restaurant! If you are ever in Lake Louise go there and have the Mountain Burger. Oh my god!

The Bad

Park Inn in Golden

By the time I started to find a hotel in Golden[4] all the good ones were gone. We ended up at a no tell motel with dog breeders beside us. They smoked a lot of pot, which I confused for the smell of cat pee. I spent the night there with a tiny bit of sheet for warmth and Sawyer up my ass. It was fun!

This was the chair in our room. We didn’t move it. Sawyer like it there.

Smitty’s in Golden

We had breakfast there on Thursday morning. Our server was great. Her name was Fiona[5] and she was very helpful. She was the one who told us the long way was blocked. The food however was atrocious. The bacon was inedible. The pancakes tasted like chemicals and were underdone. Even the dogs wouldn’t eat some of the bacon.

Mother

My mother has developed this helplessness thing. She seemed to do nothing for herself and asked in this little voice for people to do things for her. She was relentless. It almost seemed like she was waiting for any of us to sit down just to ask us to get up and do something for her. My sister had to not only contend with her but her husband doing basically the same thing. We are really starting to understand why she is losing her mind.

The Ugly

Mother again

Watching my mother smoke with oxygen on was horrible. Even one of her friends/helpers made her take the oxygen off. I am not sure why she is doing this but it is most disturbing and dangerous! Even though she wears it all the time and has a saturation of 95 she still says she feels crappy. She also does not breathe through her nose so I am not even sure she is getting any benefit from the oxygen. When I drove her home from Radium she would go minutes at a time without breathing through her nose.


[1] Not that I ever have to do this…Deb always does.

[2] It was our fault because we were late for our reservation.

[3] A subject of an upcoming blog no doubt.

[4] We were in Lake Louise.

[5] We like Fionas after watching Shameless!