"If you drink, don't drive." It's a familiar message, right?
Apparently not in this corner of the province. Or maybe it's just an easy one to tune out.
A Global News investigation spurred the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia to release statistics late last month which show Fort St. John and Dawson Creek are among the top five locations in B.C. with respect to alcohol-related driver's license prohibitions.
While Tumbler Ridge wasn't a part of the stats pack, I can safely say that alcohol-related driving offences are usually among the most popular offences in Tumbler Ridge Provincial Court, which is held here once a month.
Let's use the Dawson Creek numbers as an example. Between April 2010 and April 2011, Dawson Creek drivers were handed 204 prohibitions, which works out to 19.76 prohibitions per 1,000 drivers. The numbers for the areas around Dawson Creek were virtually identical.
It goes without saying that those numbers are too high. But at least we're not the Chilcotin area south of Prince George, which got the top spot on the chart with 29.66 prohibitions per 1,000 licensed drivers – a truly dismal distinction.
Drinking and driving is something that almost everyone has done once or twice; I once earned a 24-hour suspension. But just because it's widespread doesn't mean people should get complacent about it. A culture shift might be what's needed to throw the proper perspective on how dangerous it is to drink and drive, and not just for the driver, but for anyone in the vehicle or anyone caught in their path.
Come on; this is Tumbler Ridge. The furthest distance between any two homes in town is less than a half hour's walk. If anyone gets caught drinking and driving here, they deserve to be nailed for the sheer laziness.
I realize this is somewhat standard editorial fare: "don't drink and drive, it's bad." But as broken as this record is, it's one that's worth playing one more time.
EAO not sharp
Premier Christy Clark has been pushing for some time to harmonize the federal and provincial environmental assessment processes, arguing that they are simply duplications that waste time and money. It's a good idea in principle. But a report released by B.C.'s auditor general, John Doyle, on July 7 shows the province's Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) is a toothless system.
Doyle found the EAO fails to monitor the environmental commitments that are laid out to industry when they receive their environmental assessment certificates, and uses weak language such as asking proponents to "try" to meet commitments, instead of actually requiring them to.
It's an issue that could have some local impacts, as several local mine and wind projects are going through the provincial process now. It would be best for all of us if the EAO can prove it's more than a rubber stamp government agency.