#181 – Deferring to Stupidity

Cakers don’t like to maintain infrastructure. When given the chance to spend money to keep infrastructure standing, Canada generally opts to not bother. That this often results in more costly repairs down the line is a trivial consideration for a country that is so scared of spending its own money that it would rather screw itself over. Deferring critical maintenance is like ignoring your power bill in hopes that it’ll go away. Silly Canadians – your bills are expected on-time even if you’re increasingly not getting paid on time.

There’s a nifty metric in commercial real estate called the Facility Condition Index, or FCI. It goes from 1-100, with 1 being a practically new building to 100 being a piece of shit that has no business standing anymore. Generally, buildings want to hover around 2-5 on the FCI to avoid snowballing repair problems. Canada’s hospitals average at 11.3. It has been estimated that Canada’s hospitals need $160B in repairs; the report I cited the FCI from suggests that Canadian hospitals need $3.2B a year just to keep up with current disrepair.

sick-building
(s) Take two rolls of duct tape and don’t call me in the morning because that costs money

This means that at current Canadian hospitals there are literally billions of dollars of needed repairs in Canada’s hospitals that just aren’t done because spending money on the facility means we can’t have more administrative bloat. As everyone knows, more MBAs and people with undefined “real world experience” (as opposed to those of us who have only worked on holodecks, presumably) means better healthcare. What’s this? One Ontario hospital (the government won’t say which) needs $287m. There’s a $3.2B deficit in 148 healthcare facilities just in Ontario.

But don’t you worry! The fun continues! Know what else Canada sucks Satan’s salty bunghole at keeping up to snuff? Schools! Feels great dropping Timmy off at your local elementary school. Hope he’s not in Calgary, where there’s $1B in work to do that just hasn’t been done. Or Edmonton, which has a similar fate looming over its schools in the next decade. And don’t think this is just a Western thing – here’s Southern Ontario choking on repairs it can’t afford. Nothing shows children the value of education quite like not being able to keep their school from falling apart. Reach for the stars, Timmy!

Some problems come from dumping heavy fiscal loads on crippled municipalities. This is the case with water pipe repairs – because voters literally can’t see the pipe there is a perverse incentive to instead spend limited funds on flashy projects that in turn need maintenance which is of course deferred. Municipalities carry $123B in needed work and on average that number grows by $2B every year. Looking at the piece I just cited we see some classic Canada in the causes and influencing factors segment. Just look at this clusterfuck:

i) poor maintenance of infrastructure; ii) lack of life cycle costing and incorrect pricing (e.g., difference between cost, price, and value); iii) inadequate management approaches; iv) short term focus; v) a lack of integrated planning; vi) a disconnect between planning and implementation; vii) a need for accountability and innovation; viii) a lack of use of best practices.
– Source above

Not giving a shit? Not pricing properly? Not planning? Using guesswork instead of accepted practices? These are the great Canadian attitudes that ensure that new projects will quickly fall to shit and old standbys will grind themselves to dust in the name of making sure that the balance sheets don’t look scary to the kinds of people who focus solely on balance sheets. You know what is scary? This chart, which shows that we’re barely investing enough to maintain basically nothing.

er4gy5d
(s)

Investing half of the low end of the replacement funding needed for roads and sidewalks can’t possibly go wrong, right? Just like how Canada’s hospitals are run on politeness and Tim Hortons and will just stand up forever without needing to address their problems. Cakers will scream up and down about the very real costs of infrastructure only to demand more of it through sprawl and tract suburbs. Rather than fixing what they have cakers would rather build mindlessly and endlessly without the slightest regard for the future.

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