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Scripturient: The Airport Mystery

What’s happening at Collingwood Airport? Or better yet: what’s NOT happening? And why isn’t it? Once touted as the role model for regional cooperation, and having the best potential for local economic development, it is now a topic for murmurings about a secret sale, and ugly rumours that this has become the worst regional relationship this town […]

Scripturient: Our Know-It-Alls

Collingwood Council obviously knows more than anyone else in municipal governance. More, in fact, than anyone else in the entire country. In fact, they may all be geniuses in local governance issues. Otherwise, why would council cancel their individual subscriptions to Municipal World magazine at the start of their term? Previous councils subscribed to an issue for each member of council, […]

Scripturient: The Gauche in the Machine

Rudibus ex machina: criticizing Collingwood’s latest newsletter feels a bit like punching a puppy. Or commenting on the sloppy grammar of local bloggers. Both are far too easy, like catching fish in a barrel, and I feel guilty when I even think of doing it. But since your tax dollars are at work, it needs […]

Scripturient: Climate Change and Collingwood

Climate change is arguably the single most pressing, most important, most challenging issue to affect governments at this time. Our world is suffering and weather is getting extreme in many parts. It’s affecting crops, wildlife, safety, water… everything. But what are Canadian municipalities doing to combat it, to reign in their use of fossil fuels, […]

Scripturient: Misunderstanding Local Government

A recent editorial in the Collingwood Connection underscores the need to have writers who understand the actual process of government, and not simply comment on politics from an ideological perspective. It also underscores that some of our council still don’t understand why they are at the table. The anonymous writer of that editorial has penned […]

Scripturient: Feathers A-Flying in Collingwood

Chickengate: despite urban chickens being outre among the trendy these days; a fad long abandoned by hip who are now pursing some new form of glitzy hobby, some folks in town want to raise chickens in their yards. Seems we’re only a few years behind the trendsetters. What next? Urban cows? Urban sheep? Urban bison? It’s […]

Scripturient: The high cost of affordability

Affordable housing is crucial to the economic and social vitality of every municipality. Without it, people cannot afford to live here, which means they will look for jobs in places they can afford. Young people, especially, will move to places they can afford better. Collingwood is especially vulnerable to housing issues.* Given that the growth trend […]

Scripturient: Apps are making us criminals

Almost every week you read in the news about another taxi driver protest against Uber and its drivers. Taxi drivers go on strike, some rage against Uber and attack the drivers or damage their cars. Similar protests – albeit not yet as violent or large – have been made against Airbnb for its effects on […]

Scripturient: The Hidden Agenda in the Strategic Plan

My final comment for the next while on the town’s committee-based wishlist (the so-called community-based strategic plan, of which it is neither) has to do with biased and partisan comments made in the document’s introduction. This material was presented to council in the recent versions (approved by a 7-1 vote, as expected, with one councillor absent) but not […]

Scripturient: Trivial Pursuits

Now that the draft version of the so-called “community-based strategic plan” has been presented to council, I felt it appropriate to comment on this latest version. I have already posted several pieces on the earlier draft. If you haven’t read them, you should start with there: Strategic Planning, Part One: The Woo-Hoo Factor Strat Plan Part […]

Scripturient: 17 Pages of Blather

Zero point zero zero zero three eight. That’s the percentage of the population of Collingwood who made the effort to comment on council’s much-touted, revised, 17-page code of conduct before it was approved, Monday night. That’s 0.00038%, based on an estimated 21,000 residents. In other words: eight people. Only eight people out of 21,000 cared enough […]

Scripturient: 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 […]

Scripturient: Team Assessment

Following my last piece on the relevance of Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, to Collingwood Council, I felt I should explore some of Lencioni’s ideas, as well as look at how a team’s performance is assessed. Teams (or groups) can be assessed several ways: the best way is internally (by their […]

Scripturient: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

You can’t help but think, when you read that title, of five block-thinking, dysfunctional members of Collingwood Council. But, relevant as that description may appear in our political sphere, it is actually the title of a book by Patrick Lencioni, about how teams fail to coalesce and work together. I found it at a local […]

Scripturient: The Horns of a Dilemma

Poor Borg. One almost feels pity for their confusion. The members of Collingwood’ Council’s block-thinking collective were faced with a difficult dilemma on Monday: should they stick to their pettifogging ideology or break from it and support one of their own? Dogma versus friendship and loyalty. Monday night, another report from the Integrity Commissioner bashed […]

Scripturient: 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‚Äôs GDP than agriculture, […]

Scripturient: Stop Whining, Elvis Haters

Don’t people who hate Collingwood’s Elvis Festival ever get tired of whining and bitching about it? I guess not. There’s another whining letter about it in this week’s Connection. More than twenty years the festival has been running successfully and they still haven’t figured it out yet. Just because you don’t like the event, doesn’t mean others […]

Scripturient: 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 […]

Scripturient: 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 […]

Scripturient: 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 […]

Scripturient: 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. […]

Scripturient: 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 […]

Scripturient: 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 […]

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 […]