Fortuna: Why Plans Fail

Niccolo Machiavelli used two words in his book, The Prince, to describe the factors that influenced events. In English these are virtue or character (virtu), fortune or chance (fortuna). Only virtue is internal – our nature – and although it manifests as voluntary action, it can only be somewhat, but not entirely controlled.* The other – chance or fortune – can make the best-laid plans of mice … (more–>)

Tourism and Collingwood

Tourism is the world’s fifth fastest-growing industry and growing at five percent per year. A recent story on CBC Radio this week suggests growth has been even higher for Canada, thanks to our lower Loonie: at least six percent. According to the Tourism Association of Canada, in 2013, Canada’s tourism industry: Represented more of Canada’s GDP than agriculture, forestry and fisheries combined Generated $88.5 billion in economic activity Was … (more–>)

Strat Plan Wrap Up: Addintional Comments

Yes, the web page really does call for “Addintional Comments.” Well, I suppose consultants aren’t hired for their spelling or grammar. Otherwise there wouldn’t be all that bizarre capitalization or the missing punctuation. But you’re here to read my summation of the Collingwood’s fledgling strategic plan, not my editorial critique. Which is pretty simple: woo-hoo. I reiterate that a strategic plan can be either practical and pragmatic, or … (more–>)

Strat Plan Part 6: Culture and the Arts

The fifth and final objective in Collingwood’s developing strategic plan (the woo-hoo plan) is culture and the arts. For something so important to the community, with such a huge potential, it encompasses a mere two goals. Disappointingly, neither of them relate to its huge economic potential, which everyone else seems to understand except this committee and its council. “The rapidly evolving global economy demands a dynamic and … (more–>)

Strat Plan Part 5: Healthy Lifestyle

I suppose we can all agree that a healthy lifestyle is better than an unhealthy one. And to a certain degree, a municipality can help residents choose a healthier one or at least give them opportunities to pursue it. But you have to ask just how seriously committed a municipality is to a healthy lifestyle when it sells pop, candy and junk food in the vending … (more–>)

Strat Plan Part 4: Economic Vitality

What, you may ask, is meant by the term “Economic Vitality” – the third objective in our town’s strategic-plan-in-the-works? Apparently it’s one of those motherhood statements people make on soapboxes and campaign platforms that have little grist in them to mill into actuality. Sure, we all want a town that has a lively, thriving economy. but how do we achieve it? No one has an answer … (more–>)

Strat Plan Part 3: The Waterfront

The waterfront. It defines us geographically, historically and culturally. What could be more important to Collingwood than its waterfront that covers the entire northern border of this sleepy, lakeside town? Well, pretty much anything else it seems, if you you’re on Collingwood Council. Pick the most irrelevant, pointless, self-aggrandizing effort – like rewriting the Code of Conduct or flying around the country to party at taxpayers’ … (more–>)

Strat Plan Part 2: The Shuffle Game

In the second part of my critique of Collingwood’s woo-hoo strategic plan, I will look at the shuffle game. This is where consultants give contestants – I mean participants – a limited series of options and ask them to shuffle these around in order of their perceived priority. Then the results are collated and the one whose list looks most like the final version wins. There … (more–>)

Strategic Planning, Part One: The Woo-Hoo Factor

There are, in general, two kinds of municipal strategic plans. One is pragmatic and practical. It tells you what you need to build, fix or replace, when you need to do it, how much it will cost, and where the money will come from. This is the stuff a council grounded in reality can use to budget, plan sensibly, and maintain the community’s infrastructure. It’s a roadmap … (more–>)

Fiddling While Rome Burns

You know that legend about Nero fiddling while around him Rome was burning? It’s a popular metaphor for political cluelessness, for inaction, procrastination, for politicians oblivious to the important business of the city while they play games. For municipal leaders who focus on the petty, the trivial, the irrelevant and the self-serving, while major issues are ignored. Pretty much sums up Collingwood Council’s record to date. Fiddling with irrelevancies. To be … (more–>)

Another Secretive, Self-Serving Committee

This week, Collingwood Council passed a motion to appoint the Block Five to a new standing committee. The standing committee system, you will recall, is a system of secretive committees that operates predominantly out of the public eye, with limited council attendance, and often without even media presence. Committees conduct town business beyond the pale of accountability. Here’s what they passed (in a 6-3 vote*): THAT Council … (more–>)

Nailing Collingwood’s Door Shut to Business

Councillor Deb Doherty seems eager to cement this council’s already ugly but deserved reputation for being hostile to business. This week she made a motion to re-open the always-contentious sign bylaw, apparently in order to impose draconian restrictions on business signs THAT Council direct Staff to review Sign By-law 2012-110 with respect to sign height and any other revisions or amendments as deemed appropriate by the Chief Building … (more–>)

Reincarnation as a Consultant or a Psychic?

  A wag met Nasrudin. In his pocket he had an egg. “Tell me, Mullah, are you any good at guessing games?” “Not bad,” said Nasrudin. “Very well then: tell me what I have in my pocket.” “Give me a clue, then.” “It is shaped like an egg, it is yellow and white inside, and it looks like an egg.” “Some sort of cake,” said Nasrudin.* … (more–>)

The Antis at Sunset Point

There are always those who don’t want change. Any change upsets them. Anything that’s new, different, exciting, challenging or just unusual bothers them and want it stopped. They want a steady state, where nothing happens, nothing changes, nothing is new. Stop growth, stop development, stop change. Some of them are the ‘last in’ crowd – the recent arrivals who don’t want any more newcomers because newcomers … (more–>)

Back to Top
Skip to content