Looking back on three years

If you attended the Mayor’s Levee, Jan. 5, you received a small brochure that listed some of this council’s accomplishments to date, as well as our collective plans and priorities for the remaining year of our term. It’s worth reiterating some of those notes. Keeping the public informed was identified by this council as a strategic priority in our first strategic planning session at the beginning … (more–>)

In Wildness is the Preservation of the World

The title of this post is a quote from Henry David Thoreau’s essay, Walking, published posthumously in 1862, but which he wrote and rewrote during the 1850s. I was thinking of that line this week when Council officially opened the new Black Ash Creek Park, in the northeast of the Georgian Meadows subdivision.* I was thinking of it not in terms of the park – a … (more–>)

Why are Pickup Trucks so Anti-Pedestrian?

Take a look at the back of any of today’s pickup trucks. Notice the exhaust pipe, under the vehicle? It points to the right. The same side of the road that pedestrians and cyclists use.* Notice the bike lane in the photo – that’s where cyclists will be when this truck passes by them. No place to move to avoid the fumes. Yet I have seen vintage … (more–>)

Collingwood and our Comparators

The recent KPMG presentation to council, May 13, included some interesting data about where Collingwood sits in several areas among its peers. These included staffing, parks, recreational facilities, taxes, debt ratios and operating costs. These figures were taken from data reported annually to the province. KPMG selected six other Ontario municipalities as comparators: Owen Sound, Wasaga Beach, Midland, Bradford-West Gwillimbury, Orangeville and Port Hope. This represents a … (more–>)

Should we sell naming rights to public property?

I was recently forwarded a link to a blog post about selling naming rights for public buildings to corporations. The author writes, Last week, I wrote about “the halo effect” on events, buildings, and properties that have had multiple names, all of which have been commercial. The other area we often advise on is the sponsorship naming rights of iconic buildings “owned” by the community or named … (more–>)

Dogs and dog owners need places to socialize

How many dogs live here in Collingwood? No one knows for sure, but we can make some good estimates, based on numerous surveys and national statistics. It’s a lot. Dog owners are a very large special interest group, perhaps larger than any other demographic group in town. I’ve done some research and read many studies on pet populations done since 1996 (like this one from 2001 … (more–>)

Why not a Napoleon theme park?

There’s a sarcastic, somewhat-tongue-in-cheek commentary in the Guardian this week, called, “Why not have a Napoleon theme park?” In it, Agnès C. Poirier editorializes on a recent proposal by a French MP to build a theme park in France dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte. She writes, Abroad, observers could be forgiven for almost choking on hearing this news: why not a Stalin or a Kim Jong-il theme … (more–>)

What Shall We Do With the Mountain View?

Here’s a new song for Collingwood, sung to the tune of What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor? Unbeknownst to council, the town wants to own the Mountain View Hotel for $1.9 million. This little-known fact appeared in the 600-plus page budget document without any fanfare. or even any other sort of notice. You’d have to dig through page after page of mind-numbing arrays of … (more–>)

Collingwood’s population on the rise, faster than Canada’s

Statistics Canada has released some of the key data data from its 2011 Census. In the five years since our last census (2006), Canada has grown in population size almost 6% to 33,476,688. That’s ten times larger than we were in 1861. Once again, our growth rate was the highest among G8 countries. According to the StatsCan analysis of the data, “every province and most territories … (more–>)

Why Admiral Collingwood should go ahead

Juxtaposition. That’s the issue Collingwood Council has to wrestle with, Monday: what effect will the juxtaposition of the proposed development’s size and height have on the existing, smaller buildings? Some people are afraid our existing heritage buildings will be diminished by this project. Last week I was in Toronto. At the corner of York and Wellington Streets, I saw the Toronto Club; a beautifully preserved, late … (more–>)

Make it happen, crowd tells council about Admiral Collingwood

Four hundred people, perhaps more, packed the Collingwood Legion, Sunday afternoon, to support the Admiral Collingwood development, at Hume and Hurontario Streets. It was arguably the most important public meeting of the last 18 months. The clear message, both from speakers at the rally and audience members, was “make it happen.” So many people packed the Legion hall that it was standing room only, with some … (more–>)

Google Earth 6.2 gets somewhat better, but it still needs work

It was big news this week that Google Earth 6.2 was released with a bunch of new pictures, and an improved satellite mesh that removed some of the previous patchwork of scans that made up some of its maps. The media are full of articles praising Google Earth’s new release. CNET noted, “The result is a more realistic and less distracting (though still optimistically cloudless) view … (more–>)

Musing on mixed heights in urban environments

I recently spent some time looking online for images of cities where mixed building heights could show me how a varied skyline looks when buildings of significantly different heights are close together in an urban environment. This is, of course, because Collingwood council will soon consider allowing a six-storey building downtown, set amidst what are mostly two- and three-storey buildings. The mix of high and low … (more–>)

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