No easy solution to propane storage problem, says York prof

With so much consumer demand for propane, locating storage and handling farther afield raises the spectre of more transport by truck and rail, which also carry risks, wrote the Toronto Star Aug. 13 in a story about the number of propane storage facilities in Toronto.

In 1997, thousands of people, many of them seniors, were evacuated from their Scarborough homes after a Sunrise tanker jackknifed on Highway 401 at 2am.

"The 401 is already way over capacity, and you would increase the danger of having a fireball or a catastrophic collision on the highways," said Professor Ken McBey, of York University’s Master of Arts in Disaster & Emergency Management Program in the Atkinson School of Administrative Studies. "There’s no real easy solution."

McBey also said investigators should be allowed to determine exactly what happened before all parties – government, industry and the public – discuss what to do next. "It’s easy to point fingers," McBey said. "But these things have to go somewhere and there’s going to be risk associated with that."

  • McBey also spoke about propane storage on Toronto’s CFRB Radio Aug. 12.
  • A Global TV report on the propane explosion in Toronto mentioned that the Insurance Bureau of Canada set up a booth at York University’s Tait McKenzie Centre to inform residents about insurance on their damaged homes.

Schulich prof advocates GDP-linked bond

Canadians would benefit from a new security that gives them an equity stake in the nation’s economic growth as well as protection against inflation, according to the C.D. Howe Institute, wrote Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Post Aug. 13. Authors Mark Kamstra, a finance professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, and Robert J. Shiller of Yale University propose a GDP-linked-bond issued by the Government of Canada as an investment vehicle. The authors call their new security the "Trill" because its coupon payment would be one-trillionth of Canada’s GDP. Similar to equity shares, the Trill would pay a fraction of the "earnings" of Canada. The coupon would be linked to movements in the GDP.

On air

  • Anne Russon, psychology professor at York’s Glendon campus, spoke about why people love monkeys, on CBC Radio’s “Ontario Today” program Aug. 12.
  • York alumnus and swim coach Victor Verblac (BSc ’86), spoke about a new swimsuit which is being credited for helping swimmers break world records, on Toronto’s 680News Radio Aug. 12.