A couple of weeks back, we had a weekend houseguest blow into town for the weekend.
One of the first things she noted was how high the price of gas is in the Lower Mainland.
I can't remember her exact words, but it was something to the effect that she never thought pulling into a gas station would make her feel homesick.
Well, as the old vaudeville shtick goes, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Last week Metro Vancouver mayors voted to inflict, I mean, levy another round of taxes to help pay for an 11-kilometre SkyTrain extension through Coquitlam.
Aiming to raise $1.4 billion to cover the costs of the new rail line, the mayors decided it would be a good idea to pump up the price of gasoline in the region by two cents per litre and property taxes by $23 per year.
Excuse me, but for what -an overpriced elevated choo-choo train in
Coquitlam? I know it will sound selfish but, what's in it for me? Or more specifically, what's in it for the taxpayers of Surrey?
Our transit services are just as crappy as Coquitlam's. So why are we expected to help pay for improvements in that city when it still takes a maximum fare ticket and at least one transfer for Surrey commuters to reach the same Vancouver destinations as Coquitlam residents are trying to get to.
I may be in the minority but I have absolutely no problem with toll roads and bridges. If I'm benefiting from it, I should pay my share. The Coquihalla Highway had tolls for a couple of decades and I paid every time I used it. There is a toll for using the Golden Ears bridge and I'm fine with that too.
What I think is unreasonable is a regulatory body that expects me to dig deep to pay for somebody else's plaything.
My vehicle has a 50-litre tank and I usually fill up once per week, meaning I will be coughing up roughly $50 a year plus the additional $23 property tax to pay for something I will rarely, if ever, use. Yeah, I have a problem with that.
In short, if Coquitlam wants it, Coquitlam should pay for it. When people there and in its neighbouring municipalities bought their homes, Vancouver's downtown core was no further away than it is now. They knew commuting is a pain in the butt but that's part of the deal when you live in the burbs.
If and when the powers that be decide that British Columbia's second largest city should merit improvements to its archaic transit service, I'll happily shell out a couple bucks extra every time I make use of it. Until then, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to walk around with so many politicians reaching into my pockets.
LIONS KICKER MAKES SURREY PROUD
Not to get all sporty on you but it was exciting to see B.C. Lions kicker Paul McCallum set a new Canadian Football League record with 30 consecutive field goals on Saturday night.
A good Surrey boy, McCallum is a Queen Elizabeth Secondary grad who played junior football with the Surrey Rams before moving on to the pros.
At 41, he is the oldest player in CFL but continues to defy Father Time.
The record he broke has stood since 1993 and he did it without the benefit of kicking in the ideal conditions of B.C. Place stadium for all but two games this season.
Such a streak is remarkable given prairie winds and heavy rains at Empire Field and his new standard should hold up for years to come.
WHAT THE INTERNET TAUGHT ME THIS WEEK:
A 36-year-old performance artist in New York has begun a monthlong -give or take a couple of days no doubt -
"installation" at a gallery in that city that will culminate in her giving birth to her first child.
I'm betting there's no popcorn or junior mints for sale in the lobby there.
Then again, it's an interesting option for cash-strapped hospitals looking to raise some extra funds.
Scratch that -- the "stars" of the show would no doubt require financial compensation and that would be a bookkeeping nightmare, what with the younger members of the act not even having social insurance numbers...
Michael Booth is sports editor and features writer for the Now. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org