A Few Thoughts on Week 43

Well…. That was a week.

  • A really interesting series on Oakland/San Francisco Housing First Strategy titled “According to Need”.
  • Although there is no Windsor City Council meeting this week, the Jan 18th meeting seems to be setting up the Budget.
    • WECHC has report in front of the City around their Renewal and Repair funding that if passed as recommends opening a $50M line of credit to enable the municipal portion to match federal contributions. As the City of Windsor is the sole owner of WECHC, they City is taking on debt. The report also refers over $40M to the 2023 capital budget.
    • A capital variance report points to $6.7 million surplus on 2020 project (to September of last year). It is likely those dollars will quickly be reinvested at budget time.
    • The City committees are requesting to carry over unused funds from 2020 to 2021 due to COVID.
    • Then there is the Stormwater Financing study has 406 pages raining down on you (see what I did there). From the sounds of the study, the more impervious surfaces on your property, the more you will be paying in the future. A 5 year phase in, it would see sewer and wastewater surcharges drop on tax bills and opportunity for residential property owners as stormwater is more heavily charged on commercial and industrial properties. I didn’t read the whole thing but it will likely pass and you could see first stages of implementation cropping up in the budget docs in the coming weeks.
  • There is a municipal by-election Friday Jan 15 in Toronto for election watchers. The former Councillor was removed for breaking election laws, and now 27 candidates are running to replace him.
  • Izzy and I on our walk yesterday and saw a Telsa out front of a house, what caught my attention was that the house had no drive way or garage, it was a post-war bungalow in West Windsor. This got me thinking about electrification infrastructure.
  • The map above shows the percentage of housing (all types) was built before the 1960s. In many ways older housing is also a crude proxy for whether or not a house has a garage or even a driveway or if the neighbourhood relies more heavily on street parking.
  • If electrification of passenger vehicles is a major plank of Canada’s climate strategy and our local economy is “diversifying” to support this an other strategies, the question becomes what happens if your home isn’t set up to enable the charging of an electric vehicle?
Where I park my car
  • I have a little parking spot on what is technically (from my understanding) a public boulevard, which is a pretty common parking set up in this part of town. If I had an electric car, what would it take to charge it?
    • As I am not just going to run an extension cord across my yard to my car. I would have to bury over 60 feet of electrical conduit, likely remove a segment of sidewalk and replace it and then the charging point would be available and accessible in a public space yet I pay for the electricity. That is likely to cost thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars to install, likely offsetting any incentives that I would receive for buying and electric car.
    • During the rest of the walk with Izzy, I counted over 50 homes in parts of West Windsor with similar parking constrains as myself. I can think of numerous other homes and neighbourhoods (parts of Ford City off of Drouillard, north and south of Erie Street and swaths of the downtown core, Walkerville, parts of Sandwich Town) where this infrastructure gap is apparent.
    • Even if the issue only impacts 1 in 20 homes, to say that 5% of the population face significant infrastructure barriers to electrify their vehicles is a hurdle from a climate standpoint. This completely sets aside other barriers to electrification like base costs, family and vehicle preference etc.
    • If on street charging becomes a thing, suddenly getting the charging point on the block is a high priority spot. Another potential impact is on street parking in general, parking switch sides of the street on a monthly basis could become more challenging if charging points are on one side of the road.
    • Beyond Windsor I think about neighbourhoods like the Danforth in Toronto where permitted street parking is the norm.
  • This infrastructure gap will likely be one of the largest barriers to electrification of vehicles and the question of whether charging infrastructure will be public or private is an important one to consider.
  • Hovering around 200 cases per day, probably isn’t sustainable.
  • Curfew coming
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