Monday, July 30, 2012

Issue #4: Disaster Preparedness

This election is, at one level, being billed as a one-issue election, that issue being Healthcare, but it is much more than that. This election is taking place at a watershed moment in the history of Princeton, on several levels;
  1. The world is watching as Greece struggles with long-standing dept problem. It is likely that within the next few months, the country will slip into a full-on economic collapse and an untimely withdrawal from the Euro. If Greece collapses, Italy, Spain and even France may not be long behind and this will draw in not only the USA, but Canada. In fact, the world faces the possibility of a global recession that could rival the Great Depression.
  2. China is teetering on the brink of its own recession, and if the glut of cheap, disposable products from DVD players to food products slows significantly, all these products will suddenly become at the least more expensive, and at the worst, unobtainable for periods of time in an isolated location like Princeton.
  3. The USA is experiencing the worst drought since the Dust Bowl of the 1930's. If the corn crop fails as expected, food prices will skyrocket, and some items may become virtually unobtainable. With corn a prime ingredient in a vast array of daily use products, the effects could be devastatingly real - as early as this winter.
  4. Tension in the Arabian Peninsula continues to rise. If Israel decides to take out Iran's nuclear program, all hell will break loose, and fuel prices in Canada could skyrocket. Worse, fuel shortages could hamper timely deliveries by the fleet of 18-wheelers that Princeton depends on for everything from fuel for the local gas stations to stock for the supermarket shelves.
  5. Climate Change resulting from Global Warming threatens more severe weather events as the norm in coming years. 100 year events could easily become 20, or 5 year events. These could rival the Big Snow of 1935-36 that brought six feet of snow down on Princeton in the space of 48 hours, or the Flood of '48 that still stands as the worst regional disaster in the history of many areas of BC. Either of these events could also disrupt eighteen-wheel deliveries to Princeton for significant periods of time. Worse, these disruptions could coincide with extended grid-down power outages, or even disruptions of the natural gas supply here.
  6. Domestic and/or International terrorisim is widely expected to cause significant disruptions to global infrastructure as some time in the near future. Any or all of the above effects could result. And this could happen tomorrow...
With the above in mind, I believe it behooves the Princeton Town Council to ensure that our Disaster Preparedness is at an all-time high. When I asked at Town Hall to see the current Disaster Preparedness Plan, I was given only an edited version of the plan (for confidentiality reasons), but this one seemed to have a number of omissions and errors. The list of contact people, for example, has not been updated since before last fall's civic election. By now there should have been at least two updates to the position held by the town mayor. The question is, how many of the provisions of this plan are incomplete, incorrect, or dated. If we had full-scale disaster tomorrow, are we prepared?

If I am elected to Town Council, I assume I will have full access to all Disaster Preparedness Plans for the Town of Princeton. I will make it a priority to ensure that all such plans are up to date, that any errors or omissions are corrected, and that recommended and required Planning sessions, Tabletop exercises and full-on Disaster Exercises have been and will continue to be conducted in a timely manner.

With my Regards to the People of Princeton
Rob Rubis, Candidate for Council