The public always wants disputes that affect them to be settled quickly, but in 2012, certain issues seemed to move at glacial speed.
The teachers’ strike, a holdover from 2011, continued to dominate the news in the early part of the year, with job action escalating in the spring. The drawn-out dispute ended with a contract signed late in the school year.
Post-secondary support workers fought their own contract battles for much of the year, forcing the cancellation of some classes, and some sectors are still seeking agreements.
A mid-September a strike vote by B.C. Transit workers quickly translated into job action, including run cancellations and an overtime ban for drivers. If negotiations continue to move as slowly as the commute from West Shore to downtown, this dispute won’t be settled anytime soon.
The sewage treatment discussion eased forward, with funding from upper levels of government confirmed and the potential impact on taxpayers revealed. Rather than demonstrating progress, for some residents it reawakened the debate over the environmental need for sewage treatment and worries over potential cost overruns.
The Capital Regional District’s sewage committee laid the groundwork recently for the establishment of an oversight committee to keep things on schedule, but getting shovels in the ground is still a year away.
Environmental damage to the Colquitz River, caused by a home heating oil spill in late 2011, was thought to be an isolated event. But 2012 saw several more spills wreak environmental havoc. It could be a longtime before the extent of the problem is known, given the number of old oil tanks in use around the region.
And of course, no discussion of 2012 can leave out deer, which feasted on flowers and frazzled local farmers. While a CRD initiative to find a satisfactory solution produced a report with suggestions, it concluded that the region’s 13 municipalities must find their own solutions to the problem.
If the past year is any indication, we can expect some of the aforementioned scenarios to outlast the painfully long NHL lockout.