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Scripturient: 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 […]

Scripturient: 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 […]

Scripturient: 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 […]

Scripturient: 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 […]

Scripturient: 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 […]

Scripturient: 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 – […]

Scripturient: What’s Up With Tim Fryer?

Fledgling councillors may be excused for gaffes, gaucheries and solecisms they make in their first month or so in office. They’re new, inexperienced, dazzled by their recent election success, so we cut them some slack. And there are all these shiny things to distract a councillor: procedure, voting, reading, motions, shuffling paper, approving minutes, showing […]

Scripturient: It’s Official: Collingwood is Closed for Business

As I predicted, Collingwood Council officially closed the town to business, growth and development, last Monday night. And just for good measure, council sprinkled the ground with the salt of malice, just to further deter a particular developer from building here. Which sends a message to everyone about how this town respects and values development. Anyone […]

Scripturient: Resting, Relaxing and Rising

I’ve been reading of late about gluten. How it works, how it develops, why it matters. Gluten is the key to good bread and pasta (the gluten-free fadists notwithstanding, gluten-free anything is an aberration that should be shunned by anyone not diagnosed with celiac disease*). I’m learning more about how gluten links with itself to […]

Scripturient: Collingwood Turns a Blind Eye to Hydro One Sale

It would seem that much of Ontario, and many of its stronger municipal councils, are voicing opposition to the province’s ill-advised plan to sell Hydro One to a private, for-profit group, and are writing to the premier to protest.* The popular sentiment is that selling an essential utility like hydro – that brings the province […]

Scripturient: Connection Got It Wrong

The story in this weekend’s Connection about Block 9 underground parking incorrectly suggests council is doing something right when it was actually trying to do something wrong. But they tried to take credit for doing good when their efforts at malice failed. I expect mistakes like this from the Enterprise-Bulletin because it doesn’t have anyone on […]

Scripturient: Block Nine Revisited

I went down to the harbour today to take a couple of photographs of the piece of town land known as “Block 9.” I wanted to show my readers just how little a piece it is and what condition it’s in now. The aerial photo above shows the property outlined in orange (the photograph is several […]

Scripturient: Creating a New Citizens’ Group

Recently, I’ve been told that what this town needs is a new citizen’s action group. I imagine it will be a group of residents concerned that the precedents set by the last council might spread to this one. That’s clearly a worrisome trend to some folks. Like progress, good ideas must be nipped in the bud. What this town needs, it seems, […]

Scripturient: Sit on Your Hands

Sit on your hands and don’t do anything. That’s in essence the advice in the editorial of the Enterprise-Bulletin, June 3. It’s a strongly anti-business message: telling the business community, the municipality, developers, and everyone around us that Collingwood is, once again, closed for business. Which coincides with the anti-business attitude of several members of the current […]

Scripturient: Waterfront No-Brainer

Two terms ago, the public and media often referred to council as “the gong show” – no doubt from the number of inane comments and witless questions made at the table. One wonders if that nickname should not be revisited for this term. This week’s gong for inanity goes to Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson for […]

Scripturient: Killing Our Culture

Collingwood has killed Jazz & Blues at the Station – a popular, long-running, local cultural event second in audience only to the Elvis Festival. It brought some of Ontario’s top jazz and blues talent to play at the Museum. The hundreds of people assembled every Wednesday for the free concert – sometimes more than 400 […]

Scripturient: The Story of Chicken Little

Chicken Little was out one morning walking around town. It was a fine morning, and he decided he wanted a cup of coffee. He wanted one so much could even smell the coffee in the air. So he walked into a local restaurant. But then he stopped and his mouth fell open in horror. He saw […]

Scripturient: Good News for the Rec Facilities

A story in this week’s Collingwood Connection vindicates the decision to build the two new rec facilities last term. According to the story, usage of the two facilities – the new arena at Central Park and the renovated Centennial Pool – is soaring. Plus as an added benefit, Centennial pool is able to host competitions […]

Scripturient: Openness and Transparency?

Legitimacy is earned through accountability. Accountability is produced through transparency. Those words are from an opinion piece by Ian Lee, published in the Ottawa Citizen, back in 2008. Important words; words that should be carved above our own council table in large letters. Although it seems like he was writing about Collingwood Council, Lee was actually […]

Scripturient: Propaganda?

Last term, when council sent out community newsletters to keep residents informed, the illiterati screamed these were ‘propaganda’ and a waste of tax dollars.* Now this council has done the same thing and these nattering nabobs of negativity have raised their voices and screamed… nothing. Their silence is deafening. Well, they wouldn’t want to embarrass their friends […]

Scripturient: Illegal or Just Inappropriate Meetings?

Collingwood’s three standing committees consist solely of three members of council, each.* These committees of three each hold regular, published monthly meetings, hear public delegations, address public issues, post an agenda, receive staff reports, vote on issues, have recorded minutes, have staff to record them, and make recommendations back to council. In other words they are treated identically to […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Chinese Wisdom

As I promised in an earlier post, here are some of the epithets and sayings found in some of the Four Books of the Chinese canon. I think these are particularly relevant to politics, especially local politics. Hence my commentary after several of them.* Wikipedia gives us an overview of Confucius’ political philosophy in the […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Signs – of the Apocalypse?

Councillor Cam Ecclestone made a comment at council earlier this month that he had been contacted by several residents concerned about the new sign on the Rexall Drug store on Huron Street, its size and colours. Coun. Doherty chimed in about it with similar comments. Aside from the question why anyone would contact a member of […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Not-My-Fault Dance

There’s a story in this weekend’s Collingwood Connection about the PUC board meeting this week. The board confirmed that council’s dumping unexpected costs on the utility will mean an unplanned increase in the cost of your water this year. One of our council representatives tried to dance around it as if he wasn’t among the causes of that increase. This hurtful rate increase […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: 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 […]