Rethinking Parking

Parking in Collingwood – especially downtown – has been a contentious issue since at least the mid-1980s. Numerous studies have been done advocating a variety of answers, none of them entirely satisfactory to everyone. The factions of free versus paid parking have been warring as long as I can recall. No council has managed to fully come to grips with the issue. To compound the issue, … (more–>)

Someone’s Paying Attention

I was glad to see the Connection is attending and reporting on some of the council standing committee meetings. The media need to be there to shine a light on what seems to the rest of the town as a secretive, unaccountable process. At least the Connection is paying attention. The story that came out of the meeting is titled, “Lobbyist registry could make things complicated: Collingwood … (more–>)

Turning Positives into Negatives

Once upon a time, when George Czerny was the publisher, the Enterprise-Bulletin newspaper was an avid and active local promoter: the indefatigable cheerleader for the town; for its events, activities, clubs and organizations. It was the proud voice of Collingwood. Not so, today. The paper seems to have lost that community passion. Today it comes across as bitter, ideologically-driven, full of negativity and hidden agendas. Take a look at the … (more–>)

Bad Designs

I’m not a graphic designer. I was not formally educated in that art. However, over the years, my jobs in editing and writing for books, newspapers, magazines and publishers have required me to learn the rudiments of layout, typography and design. I am the first to admit my design talent is merely adequate. Despite that, I did absorb enough to be able to recognize egregiously bad … (more–>)

Not Getting It

In a recent opinion piece in the Enterprise Bulletin titled “Swayze overused by council?” EB reporter/editor Paul Brian comments, I think the overuse of Swayze is outlandish and it is not congruent with the tough financial situation of the town.* Like much of the EB’s increasingly vague reporting since former editor Ian Adams left, the paper’s current editorial staff doesn’t seem to understand municipal politics. The reporting on many … (more–>)

Me, Myself and I Redux

At Collingwood Council meetings, you will always hear someone say “Moved by myself…” when presenting a motion at the table.* Argh! Where did these people go to school? Clearly our education system has failed us if people were raised to say that. And this is in the public record, too. To me it’s like nails on a blackboard. It’s like saying “I seen…” and “yous.” The grammatically … (more–>)

We Need a Different Integrity Commissioner

Monday night’s council meeting again underscored why the town needs someone new in the role of integrity commissioner. Lawyer Robert Swayze presented his report about a complaint filed against councillor Deb Doherty and it was accepted by council in a recorded 6-2 vote*. But his report shared the same flaws his previous report about former Deputy Mayor Lloyd had, and kudos to the two (mayor Cooper and … (more–>)

Cold Camembert, Collingwood Style

Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth made comments last week about how awful it is to eat normal airplane food as an excuse why she billed more sumptuous meals to her taxpayer-funded expense account. Cold camembert and broken crackers, she whined, were not acceptable breakfast fare for the likes of a Senator. As the NatPost quoted her: “There are a couple of times when my assistant put in for a breakfast … (more–>)

Gated Communities

I’m not a big fan of gated communities, but even if I don’t personally want to live in one myself, I understand the reason for them, and sympathize with homeowners in those zones. Apartments are basically gated towers that restrict access to residents or keyholders and no one complains that they isolate the residents. Few people who live in one would welcome strangers walking up and down … (more–>)

Abdicating Responsibility

Collingwood Council has, in its short time in office, abdicated much of its responsibility to the business of government and to the people of this town. Council has sloughed off the duties they were elected to shoulder with remarkable alacrity. Some of that responsibility landed on staff, who assumed control of the budget process and drive most of the initiatives that come to the table. But some … (more–>)

Closed for Business, Hostile to Seniors

Closed: that’s the message Collingwood Council sent to business during its recent budget discussions. We’re making it more expensive to run a business here, and by the way, we’re hostile to seniors and low-wage earners, too. Under the tissue-thin pretense of keeping taxes low (which they aren’t, really), council approved a staff initiative to remove the costs for maintaining hydrants from the general tax levy and add them into your … (more–>)

Email and Confidentiality

A story in this week’s Connection titled “Private talk with CAO leads to Collingwood integrity commissioner complaint” sparked the following comment. No, this is not about what strikes me as the unethical and secretive behaviour of the councillor in question and his defending that behaviour in the media as if the town’s Code of Conduct did not state at its outset that all members of council (emphasis added): … (more–>)

Why Elvis Matters to Collingwood

There are some things that are pointless to argue, it seems. Creationism with a fundamentalist. Anti-vaccination with a New Age wingnut. Reason and logic with local  bloggers. The value of the Elvis Festival to Collingwood with a closed-minded resident. I recently heard complaints about the cost of the 2014 festival: $74,000. More than double what the Integrity Commissioner cost taxpayers to investigate bogus, politically-motivated claims last … (more–>)

Councils and Their CAO

A good relationship between a municipal council and their town’s CAO is crucial to smooth, effective and efficient governance. The CAO is the liaison between council and staff, responsible for directing staff to implement council’s direction and overseeing internal personnel issues. If the relationship is rocky, then governance and Council’s interactions with staff – and therefore the entire public’s interests – all suffer. To fill this role well, … (more–>)

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