Teddy’s Words of Wisdom

I’m not a great student of American history – my tastes run to other places and people: Napoleon, Casanova, Elizabeth I, the Enlightenment, the Renaissance, the French Revolution, China…. but I do read about it. Most recently Rick Perlstein’s history of the American Sixties, Nixonland. And in that book I came across a powerful, moving quotation from U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt that I wanted to share … (more–>)

The Enemies List

Canadians barely lifted an eyebrow in surprise when it was revealed that our Prime Minister had an “enemies list” compiled as a warning to newly-minted cabinet ministers laying out who they can’t trust. I mean, we’ve lived with Harper as leader long enough not be shocked by anything that seems petty, autocratic, paranoid or Republican. So what if the list was so long it had to … (more–>)

Casinos redux

First let’s clarify the terms. A “casino” was never really in the discussion, although just about everyone used that term. What the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) offered was a “gaming facility” as they euphemistically called it. A gambling joint, others said. It was to be a warehouse-like, windowless building with up to 300 slot machines. No keno, no gaming tables for poker or blackjack, … (more–>)

A Sneak Peak Inside Our New Fire Hall

Councillor Lloyd and I took a tour through the new fire hall, at the corner of High and Third Streets, today. It’s still under construction, but the main components are finished and the firefighters have moved in. It’s an impressive place. Well-designed, well-built (using a lot of local builders and materials!). Make sure you attend the open house when the building is officially completed, this fall. … (more–>)

Centennial Pool Gets Finishing Touches

A sneak peak into Centennial Pool a few weeks before it re-opens. Councillor Lloyd and I took a look around today (July 9) at how it’s progressing. We were very impressed. It’s going to be fabulous! Collingwood residents will love this place. It is really a stunning facility and we will be proud to host events here. The first image, at the top, shows the therapeutic … (more–>)

The CAO Conspiracies

Collingwood has appointed an interim CAO, John Brown, former city manager of Brantford, St. John’s and Oshawa, to help the town’s administration and governance during the interim while we search for a full-time CAO. This will, of course, send the bloggers into a frothing tizzy of frenetic accusations and conspiracy theories. So to save them the effort of having to explain this, I have written some plausible conspiracy … (more–>)

How should a municipality deal with cigarette litter?

I was sitting on a decorative rock on the landscaping west of Loblaws, this weekend, waiting while Susan was inside and amusing myself at the bad driving habits of our city visitors in the parking lot. I happened to look down and saw what little, rough grass there was, was almost totally buried in cigarette butts. Toxic, non-decaying, environmentally hazardous and socially hostile cigarette butts. Ugh. … (more–>)

It’s All About the Money

Almost every council decision comes with the subtext question, “Can we afford it?” Everything not procedural or administrative is usually about the cost. Who pays, whose budget does it come from, is the money in reserves, can we get funding, can we use development charges, will it raise taxes, are there other options, are there partnerships – all these questions run through most discussions. Will it … (more–>)

Notes for a Spring Evening

Late spring, Saturday night, sitting here surrounded by the trees and garden in full bloom, everything lush and full of life, my view from the front porch of verdant trees and garden, everything so very green. Peaceful. Relaxing. Would that this evening could go on forever. Glass of Sledgehammer Zinfandel to round off the evening, a couple of books to read on the table beside me, … (more–>)

Pets and Policies: Why Dog Parks Matter

Back in April, 2011, I wrote a post about municipal policies towards pets, now in the blog archives. I noted then that… A recent survey done by Colin Siren of Ipsos Reid estimated there are 7.9 million cats and 5.9 million dogs in Canada. The survey also shows that 35% of Canadian households have a dog, while 38% have a cat, which is consistent with other … (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–>)

Understanding the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act

Another of the Acts that direct municipal governance is the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. While considerably shorter than the previously-discussed Municipal Act – eight pages, 15 sections and less than 3,500 words – it is of perhaps equal importance. While it may seem vague to outsiders, it was written to clearly identify the nature of a conflict in black and white. The Act allows no grey … (more–>)

The open government report

On Monday’s agenda, council received a 21-page report from the clerk on the nature and mechanics of open government in Collingwood. This comprehensive report, titled the “Accountability and Transparency Policy,” because it also introduced a revised, formal policy, listed all of the bylaws, policies and legislation by which council and staff operate. This is such an important and useful report that I felt it worthwhile to extract … (more–>)

The Municipal Act and Recorded Votes

A recent motion was made to make all council votes recorded votes. This has generated some confusion among council watchers about voting and both what we can and cannot do. The Municipal Act makes it clear that calling for a recorded vote is every councillor’s right. It is not staff’s right. See Section 246: Recorded vote 246. (1) If a member present at a meeting at … (more–>)

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