Are internet polls valid?

How valid are internet polls? Are they credible for making serious or significant decisions, or merely as general – even vague – indicators of intent? Are they equivalent to paper (and phone) surveys? No. At least that’s what many experts say. Yes, they can be cost-effective, and good tools to engage the community. But like online petitions, they seldom have sufficient controls that restrict access to … (more–>)

Taking words out of context

Council, along with the media, the auditor general, the CBC, our MP and MPP,and a few others, were recently sent a letter complaining about council’s decision to build new, year-round recreational facilities without raising taxes. Fair enough. Everyone has the right to write letters. We’re open to public criticism, even after the issue has been decided, contracts signed, and council (and most of the town) has moved on. You can … (more–>)

The Erosion of Civil Debate

I’ve been dismayed by the tone of the recent debate over the town’s proposed and new recreational facilities. Not by the debate itself – I love the engagement and interaction, even arguing because it’s intellectually stimulating – but rather by what has become an increasingly strident, angry, confrontational and personal tone in many of the comments council has received, or which have been directed towards council. … (more–>)

Should you run for municipal council?

There’s a poll online asking if a resident should run for council next election. I believe I understand the intent, but decision-making by poll is not effective leadership. Internet polls, in particular, are weak, inaccurate, easily manipulated, and ignore necessary demographic constraints – they are unacceptable as the foundation for any serious decision. Sure, you want public input for major issues, and you are legislated to … (more–>)

Zellers closing mall store is another blow to local economy

Collingwood’s main anchor store in the Blue Mountain Mall, Zellers, will close by March, 2013, according to a story in this week’s Globe and Mail. It is one of 29 scheduled to close in Ontario, and one of 64 across Canada. As the Globe and CBC pointed out in their stories, with an average of 100 people per store, that means a net lost of around … (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–>)

What happened to the video business?

In the early to mid 1990s, Collingwood had three independent video outlets. Then it had two and one franchise (Rogers). Several variety stores also had a small video rental business. Then the independents closed and another franchise (Blockbuster) moved in. Now the two corporations are gone and there is no place in town to rent videos. I am deeply disappointed. What happened to the video rental … (more–>)

Gone to the Dark Side

Yes, I have been recruited to the Dark Side: I have an Apple iPad now. Well, it’s a loaner, but they’ll have to pry it out of my cold dead fingers if they want it back. Unless they offer me a 64GB model in exchange… And, yes, I have been reduced to the fatuous abuse of capitalization in its name: iPad, rather than a more proper … (more–>)

Lights out for Earth Hour, Saturday

Earth Hour returns tonight, Saturday March 31. Collingwood has been a proud supporter of Earth Hour ever since it went worldwide. If you care about climate change, or care about the environment, turn your lights out for 60 minutes from 8:30-9:30 p.m. local time. Come on, show you care! Turn those lights out. It’s only for 60 minutes. Remember to unplug TVs, stereos, etc to stop … (more–>)

That squiggle cost taxpayers HOW much?

I read in the latest edition of the Collingwood Connection that: “Regional Tourist Organization 7 (is) now Bruce Grey Simcoe.” Were you even aware of Regional Tourist Organization 7 before that story? According to the Connection, The organization announced its new brand and logo on Thursday at the Bear Estate in Collingwood. Bruce Grey Simcoe is one of 13 regional tourism organizations across the province. Executive … (more–>)

Grim outlook for Canadian manufacturing

The outlook for Canadian manufacturing, warns the CIBC, will remain grim as long as a strong dollar keeps labour costs high, “deepening the hollowing out of the industrial heartland and boosting regional income inequality in the years ahead,” says the Huffington Post. The Canadian loonie looks good for shoppers who buy consumer and retail goods made outside Canada. Our import prices are actually 10% lower than … (more–>)

The Drummond Report: economic disaster or salvation?

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRToWKtrfCo&feature=related”] “It’s not all doom and gloom,” quips Rick Mercer in this video. “Drummond predicts the province could still turn things around, if it acts now, and no one gets sick, needs a job, or educates their children, for the next… ever.” The Drummond Report – from the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services headed by economist Don Drummond – was released last week. … (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–>)

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