Clawing our way back up the ladder?

In 2006, Moneysense listed Collingwood as the 11th best place to live in Canada. The other ten above us on that list were all major cities. We were the number one town. Mayor Geddes beamed. Today we’re a lot further down the list. Numero 54 to be exact, out of 200. I wrote about that list back in 2011. We plummeted from the giddy heights of … (more–>)

Understanding the Municipal Act

Among the many pieces of legislation, bylaws and policies that guide and inform municipal councils in Ontario, the Municipal Act is the most important.* This 238-page, 140,000-word, 474-section document covers most of the things that govern municipal councils: powers, duties, highways, public utilities, waste management, fences and signs, animals, economic development, environment, licensing, municipal reorganization, municipal service boards, BIAs, boards and committees, integrity commissioners, transparency, open … (more–>)

To sleep, perchance to dream

Aye, there’s the rub. To sleep in, one weekend morning, when there are no pressures for meetings, work, deadlines. To roll away from the soft light that filters through the blinds and enjoy that delicious moment of closing your eyes and drifting back into a dream. Covers pulled up, the street quiet outside the widow, the furnace gently wheezing its warm air into the room; nothing … (more–>)

The Hobgoblins under the Lobbyist Bridge

Lobbyist. For some, the word conjures frightening images of nefarious trolls and ogres in Armani suits lurking under the bridges and in the woods in the dark night, snatching unwary politicians and dragging them down to whatever hell the gullible and naive descend to (a hell cleverly paved with gold and champagne flutes). The very word itself is printed in bold and in colour in some … (more–>)

Is it time for a Collingwood ukulele group?

When a friend recently told me he had joined the new Guelph ukulele group, it made me somewhat envious. After all, having a local support-performance-practice-chat-socialize group for any hobby is always great. When your hobby is a passion that requires an audience to realize itself fully, a local group is de rigeur. You simply need others people to practice with to get better and share the … (more–>)

Propaganda, PR and Spin

What is propaganda? The word gets thrown around easily by people who obviously mean “anything we dislike or don’t agree with.” It’s a pejorative often used by a small group to describe anything official that any level of government puts out, no matter how benign or factual. Libertarians, for example, often grouse that government information about, say the efficacy of flu shots or the safety of … (more–>)

Half Time News

This month, Collingwood residents got a newsletter in their Collus- PowerStream utility bill: The Half Time News. Recognizing this is the season of the Super Bowl, our  brochure provides residents a fun yet non-political update on the events and activities around council’s first two years in office: at the end of 2012 we are at the half-way point in our term. And what a term it’s … (more–>)

Musings on public input

When I hear a call for a public meeting, my first thought is to ask why we need it. Is the issue something that absolutely needs more public input above and beyond what is already widely available? Public meetings require considerable planning, advertising and recording. Sometimes they require a large space, which has to be rented. Is the issue big enough to warrant such a process or … (more–>)

Musings on representational democracy

Representational democracy, says Wikipedia, is “…founded on the principle of elected people representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. All modern Western style democracies are various types of representative democracies…” And so is Canada, and by extension so is the Town of Collingwood; small cog it may be in the great machinery of democratic government. We elect people to represent us, to make … (more–>)

The mayor sets the record straight about the PRA

The following is a statement made verbally by Mayor Sandra Cooper, at Collingwood Council, Mon., Jan. 28, 2013. It explains the timeline of events between the Pretty River Academy and the Town of Collingwood. It should set the record straight and clear up the misinformation around this issue: JANUARY 28, 2013 – MAYOR’S STATEMENT ON THE PRETTY RIVER ACADEMY As noted at last week’s Council meeting, … (more–>)

More construction at Centennial Pool

Here you can see the additional aluminum supports that have been erected to hold up the fabric covering. Only a small area at the north has had some of the fabric installed (visible at the lower left of the photo). Workers were doing some maintenance jobs, Saturday. You can see how tall the centre of the building is. It will feel spacious and airy, inside. Checking … (more–>)

What’s this nonsense about mushrooms?

In the middle of a video parody on YouTube that skewers council on our new rec facilities, there’s a comment about “the mushroom farm debacle.” It then goes on, rather erratically, to rail about “two yanks” and mushrooms growing in manure and “enobe” mushrooms. What debacle? Clearly the video’s creator never actually watched the public presentation made to council a year ago about a possible use … (more–>)

Centennial Pool gets covered!

Not sure how much will get done today – it’s a cold, windy winter day. But yesterday, in more clement weather, six frame struts  for the Sprung building were erected at Centennial Pool, and I got these photographs: Here’s the frame going up, on January 16.Six frames have gone up – there are another eight to go. You can get an idea of how big and … (more–>)

The Hidden Costs of Gambling

Let’s start 2013 with a sober consideration of the social and economic costs of gambling. Back n 2006, the Canadian Medical Association noted that, “Provincial governments may be glossing over the societal and health costs of problem gambling, including depression and suicide, because of the significant income they gain from gambling, claim several public advocacy and mental health organizations.” Glossing over is a polite way of saying … (more–>)

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