Comment 1206

By Moi (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2006 at 15:30:31

Maybe it's just me, but I've always felt you had to look at the periphery of most Spectator articles, the underlying assumptions in the reports and the sources they interview, to fully grasp the implications of any issue reported.

In this case, I was surprised to learn that there were about a half dozen cases of legionaires' disease reported in this city each year, with an unknown number of unreported cases. I was further surprised to learn that the suspicion of many unreported cases led health officials in the province to speculate that statistical spikes in cases tracked might be the result of improved reporting rather than increased outbreaks, and therefore of little concern, to them at least.

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised then, that the province had no cleaning and maintenance standards for the large, water-tower air-conditioning units that are a known source for such outbreaks, nor apparently any interest in setting such standards despite the fact that number of cases of legionaires' disease seems to have doubled in the province this past year, as it roughly did in the city.

And I suppose I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was to discover that, though such large air-conditioning equipment has long been known to cause about a half-dozen cases of legionaires' disease each year, the city's health department didn't know where all such equipment in the city was located. They climbed to the roof of Stelco Tower for a visual survey only after it was determined there was a spike in the numbers, and still hadn't located the specific location of the source at the time of the Spectator report.

Me, I'm still curious as to why it is okay to have even five cases reported each year, and that's not a cause for public concern or action. There may be a good reason, but I haven't seen that reported yet.

I wasn't surprised the spike in cases was not reported as it occured. That might have frightened suburbanites from visiting the city centre. This city's administration is still convinced that the downtown will be revived by encouraging people who hate going downtown, to go downtown, rather than openly maintaining safety standards for the people who like or need to live and work in a large urban centre. We can see a parallel in the failure to provide the Beasley neighbourhood with decent parks, recreation centres and social services that are known to reduce crime, while promising increased policing on nearby downtown streets where it's hoped more visitors will tread.

All this suggests to me that the current city administration either doesn't know how to support community development, or they're trying to do it on the cheap having already blown the big bucks on an east-end expressway. But maybe that's just me.

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