Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

BookCrossing Release – 2008/10/17

October 17, 2008


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Title: Southern Cross
Location: Tim Horton’s; Adelaide/Commissioners; London, Ontario
Time: 8:15 p.m.

To learn more, click here.

“In their first appearance (Hornet’s Nest, 1997), Chief Judy Hammer, Deputy Virginia West, and reporter-turned-rookie-cop Andy Brazil battled a serial killer in Charlotte, North Carolina. Now, in Patricia Cornwell’s Southern Cross, the trio are dispatched to Richmond, Virginia–via an NIJ (National Institute of Justice) grant–to quell the growing gang problem and modernize the beleaguered Richmond PD. They bring with them a sophisticated computer program for tracking criminal activity and a tried-and-true methodology for reforming Richmond’s men and women in blue. Unfortunately, Hammer, Brazil, and West could not have been prepared for the resentment they would confront… or the bizarre cast of characters they would find upon their arrival: Lelia Ehrhart–wealthy (and nosey) chair of the Blue Ribbon Crime Commission–whose heavy European accent renders her English dangerously hilarious; Butner “Bubba” Flunk IV–tobacco industry worker, gun collector, and UFO aficionado; Smoke–the sociopathic leader of the Pikes gang; and Weed Gardener–14-year-old painter turned master graffiti artist…The novel becomes a satire on city politics, Southern culture, the ever-tense relationship between the police and the public, and the struggles of the average man and woman with computer technology.”

graphic

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Walkway Work Update

October 13, 2008

photoThe work on the walkway which connects Eagle Crescent and King Edward Avenue is proceeding, but I’ve a bit of angst about what I’m seeing here. Hopefully there’s no intention to replace the stairs which were removed, since they represent an unnecessary physical barrier to wheelchairs, buggies and strollers, etc.

Petitioning Local Government

October 11, 2008

It was interesting last Monday, listening to what transpired during the ETC meeting during discussion of a citizen’s submission to have the direction of one-way travel on his neighbourhood street changed.

In 2000, a similar attempt by the individual resulted in a city mail-back survey of residents. “The survey had a 63% response rate with 40% supporting the proposed reversal, 50% against and 10% indicating no preference. Based on the survey, reversing the existing one-way designation was not recommended.”

Prior to this latest attempt, the citizen personally knocked on doors gathering signatures on a petition. “Out of the owners of 25 houses 24 were in favour and one had no preference. Of the remaining 7 houses three are out of town owners of student residences, the other four I could not reach. There seems to be no opposition to this proposal.”

That didn’t sit well with Mr. Leckie (Director, Roads and Transportation), who managed to convince the committee that the city needs to do another mail-back survey “to ensure the integrity of resident’s opinions.”

Which got me to wondering. Does the city have any policy with respect to surveys, petitions, etc?

The city website returned 4 pages of documents based on a “petition” keyword search and 32 pages based on a “survey” keyword search. Other than a single document which states that “a petition for curbs and gutters must be circulated on both sides of a street…” I was unable to find anything about the relevance of submitted petitions, or the format that they should be in, etc.

It’s been my personal observation that Council and its committees usually just accept petitions without any comment other than to note the number of signatures.

Where does this sudden concern about the validity of signatures come from? Are there some political shenanigans going on here, simply because the city staff doesn’t like what’s being proposed?

The LTC’s ‘Courtesy Seating’ Response

October 9, 2008

photoIn response to my letter that was dated 2008/09/05 (see: LTC ‘Courtesy’ Seating), the Commissioners deflected it to Administration for response. Mr. John Ford (LTC Director of Transportation & Planning) replied on behalf of Administration in a letter dated 2008/09/30 (click on graphic icon to view the letter in it’s original entirety) which was finally received by me yesterday:

Courtesy seats are provided for those who could benefit from them on a first come first serve basis. While the operator can request passengers to vacate the seats to make room for others who may require these seats more pressingly, it is not mandatory for a person to do so – the ultimate decision to move lies with the passenger.

London Transit provides service to all customers including those that require strollers, wheelchairs and scooters, provided there is enough room on the bus to safely do so. On occasion, our operators may request that the passengers move to the back of the bus and that strollers be moved or folded to accomodate other passengers. Our operators take customer safety into consideration when making the decision as to whether there is enough room on the bus to allow more passengers on board.

Mr. Ford’s response completely ignores the contrary personal experience that I described in my submission to the Commission, ie the fact that I was ordered to change seats by an operator in order to accomodate a large non-collapsable buggy. He ignores my specific question about what recourse passengers have in such situations, ie “What procedure ought to be followed by a passenger when confronted by an operator in this situation?” LTC users deserve a clear response to the question.

Mr. Ford’s answer is also contrary to signage which has just recently appeared in some buses, which appears to accord priority to wheelchair users.

Mr. Ford makes no attempt to justify why large non-collapsable buggies are permitted onboard a bus during summer months, when smaller collapsable strollers could easily be used.

I asked a very specific, very understandable question with respect to carriers, ie “Does the LTC have an official policy with respect to child carriers (ie. size, type, etc?”

Mr. Ford’s response ignores that question. It fails to identify if there’s an official policy. It suggests that operators may have some discretionary power in this situation, but it doesn’t clearly say that either. Is Mr. Ford trying to be confusing? Is this an attempt at evasion? LTC users deserve better transparency than this.

Although Mr. Ford makes a passing reference to hierarchy of disabilities, he made no real attempt to answer the specific question which I put to the Commission, ie “Does the LTC have an official policy which clearly identifies a hierarchy of need with respect to the use of courtesy seats?”

My interpretation of his slippery response is that disabled LTC users are not accorded that respect. The LTC appears to want us to think that they’re caring and compassionate, but without actually having to be. Why not a straightforward answer, eg. ‘We’d rather not have to deal with the disabilities issue and so we let users figure it out for themselves’? or ‘Those people ought to all use Paratransit’?

Downtown is the Heart of My London

October 8, 2008

Dan Brown wants me to imagine that there’s no downtown London (“Is downtown the heart of your London?“; London Free Press; 2008/10/03). Well, I can’t.

No matter what we might do to it, it would always be there. Ignoring some peripheral extension like St. Thomas or Ingersoll is one thing. But the core? How do you forget about the smack-dab centre? And why would you want to, since it’s central location makes it the most easily accessible from everywhere?

Dan says that our current downtown is not the heart of the city for many residents. “They don’t venture downtown on a daily basis and wouldn’t be disturbed if it disappeared overnight. They’re tired of the stories about the downtown’s long death spiral. For many of them, downtown has been dying as long as they have been alive.”

That much, I can agree with. Compared to the downtown of my youth, today’s version is like the spot on an apple that, having been bruised and softened, is now slowly spreading inexoribly outwards.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. And it doesn’t mean having to continuously infuse the pockets of private business interests with taxpayer money. Better to acquire something substantive from such shared investment, something that’s useable by everybody, and something that’s unique enough from other communities that it becomes a tourist magnet as well.

Dan says “Imagine there’s no Victoria Park.”

Bad idea. Terrible idea! In fact, I think that’s the complete opposite of what ought to be done.

Start with a circle with it’s centre at Dundas and Richmond Street and extending outward for at least 6 city blocks. Now remove all the buildings, all the roads, etc. Colour it green. An enlarged Victoria Park. Now construct a road which circles the enlarged park and from which other roads radiate like spokes of a wheel.

Now we’ve got the beginning of something. And all it cost us was a bit of imagination.

A New Downtown Surveillance Camera

October 5, 2008

According to the annual evaluation report of the Downtown Monitored Surveillance Camera Program, a decision has been made to install a camera “near the intersection of Richmond and Kent Streets.” The area is identified by LPS as “one of highest for calls for service in the downtown area.”

The 16 current cameras cost $136,000 to operate in 2007. They are monitored “from approximately 9pm to 5am daily and as staff are available during the off times.”

According to a London Police Services analysis, “crime rate in the area covered by the cameras was 14% lower in 2007 compared to 2006” whereas “the area neighbouring the camera coverage showed a 2% increase in incidents from 2006.”

Migratory Birds

October 5, 2008

In the report of it’s 7th meeting, the the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC) advises the Environment and Transportation Committee (ETC) that there is currently “very little signage regarding responsible feeding of geese at the City’s parks” and that it is waiting for a report from the Manager of Parks Operations about “key signage locations, appropriate signage wording and cost estimates for proposed public education signs.”

Interestingly, the report notes that there is an (unidentified) individual who “verbally educates the public on the risks of feeding the birds inappropriate food” and that the City has hired this same individual “to run their dogs on a irregular basis, in geese populated parks, in an effort to discourage congregating of the geese.”

I can’t help but wonder if this job was advertised, and how much it pays?

Typically, this terse report follows information which was brought to an advisory committee in verbal form and not properly captured. In other words, there’s no audio recording of the presentation for interested citizens to listen to.

Perhaps there will be some further disclosure at tomorrow night’s ETC meeting. On the other hand, given the poor manner in which committee members use their microphones, maybe there won’t be.

Other Links:
GTF Submission #05 – Audio Recorded Meetings

BookCrossing Release – 200810/04

October 4, 2008


Read and Release at BookCrossing.com...

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Title: The Plains of Passage
Location: Tim Horton’s; Adelaide/Commissioners; London, Ontario
Time: 8:15 a.m.

To learn more, click here.

“In the fourth installment of the Earth’s Children series…Auel again describes her characters’ travails, a passionate interest of millions of readers, in impeccably researched detail…The saga continues the cross-continental journey of Ayla, her mate Jondalar and their menagerie to his homeland. En route, they encounter a variety of problems, yet manage to find panaceas for each. Their enlightened compilation of skills, inventions, therapies and recipes transforms the voyagers into spirit-like personas providing The Others with constant awe.”

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2008/10/06 Planning Meeting

October 3, 2008

I’ll continue to add commentary about items of interest to me as time permits. For full details about agenda contents, interested persons should log on to the city website and review what’s available there for themselves.

4:00 PM Planning(01)
Consent Item: “Potential for additional tree conservation through Site Plan Approval.”

4:00 PM? Planning(02)
Consent Item: The placement of signage for fire routes.

4:00 PM? Planning(03)
Consent Item: DNL Group’s appeal to the OMB

4:00 PM? Planning(04)
Consent Item: Heritage alteration application re 512 Colborne Street.

4:00 PM? Planning(05)
Consent Item: Integration of lands acquired at 544 Riverside Drive into McKillop Park.

4:00 PM? Planning(06)
Consent Item: Status report re Keep London Growing Coalition (KLGC).

4:00 PM? Planning(07)
Consent Item: Reduced fees when applying for building permits online.

4:00 PM? Planning(08)
Consent Item: Environmental and Ecological Planning Advisory Committee (EEPAC) 9th report.

4:00 PM? Planning(09)
Consent Item: Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC) 4th report.

4:00 PM? Planning(10)
Consent Item: 2008/08 building construction.

4:00 PM? Planning(11)
Consent Item: London cannot control demolition of Middleton House.

4:30 PM? Planning(12)
Public Participation Meeting: Zoning change re 2034 Hyde Park Road and 1446 Fanshawe Park Road West.

4:30 PM? Planning(13)
Report: variance from Sign and Canopy By-law re 1350 Trafalgar Street.

4:30 PM? Planning(14)
Report: variance from Sign and Canopy By-law re 500 Springbank Drive.

4:50 PM? Planning(15)
Public Participation Meeting: Long-term plan re Veterans Memorial Parkway.

7:00 PM? Planning(16)
Public Participation Meeting: Leachate Pre-treatmentlHauled Liquid Waste Facility at 3438 Manning Drive.

7:30 PM? Planning(17)
Public Participation Meeting: Springbank Park road closure.

8:00 PM? Planning(18)
Application for Demolition Permit: vacant building at 544 Riverside Drive.

2008/10/06 CAPS Meeting

October 3, 2008

I’ll continue to add commentary about items of interest to me as time permits. For full details about agenda contents, interested persons should log on to the city website and review what’s available there for themselves.

5:00 PM CAPS(01)
Consent Item: 2008/10 Dearness Home Community Newsletter.

5:00 PM? CAPS(02)
Consent Item: CSCPAC Report.

5:00 PM? CAPS(03)
Consent Item: LDRRAC Report.

5:00 PM? CAPS(04)
Consent Item: Council resolution re Advertising in Public Parks.

5:00 PM? CAPS(05)
Consent Item: Options for Future Dearness Home Operation.

5:00 PM? CAPS(06)
Consent Item: Defibrillators in Recreation Faciliiies.

5:00 PM? CAPS(07)
Consent Item: Facility Rental Contracts.

5:00 PM? CAPS(08)
Consent Item: Downtown Monitored Surveillance Camera Program.

5:00 PM? CAPS(09)
Consent Item: Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program.

5:00 PM? CAPS(10)
Consent Item: Street to Home Model.

5:10 PM? CAPS(11)
Item for Direction: Clarence Point Park. .

5:25 PM? CAPS(13)
Item for Direction: Child and Youth Agenda. .

7:00 PM? CAPS(14)
AAC 8th Report. .

7:00 PM? CAPS(15)
CCAC 4th Report. .

7:00 PM? CAPS(12)
Request for New Dog Park. .

2008/10/06 ETC Meeting

October 3, 2008

I’ll continue to add commentary about items of interest to me as time permits. For full details about agenda contents, interested persons should log on to the city website and review what’s available there for themselves.

4:00 PM ETC(07)
Appeal of an order to muzzle a dog.

4:30 PM? ETC(01)
7th Report of the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee..

4:30 PM? ETC(02)
Response to Requests to Discontinue Water Fluoridation in London.. A staff report which describes “the fluoridation of the City of London’s drinking water and recent lobbying efforts by citizens and organizations opposed to drinking water fluoridation” and a recommendation by the Middlesex-London Health Unit that no action be taken by the city at this time because of a currently ongoing Health Canada study.

4:30 PM? ETC(03)
PCB Storage Facility Decommissioning Project.. Information requested by the 2008/08/18 City Council meeting. It describes the removal of PCBs and related contaminants and their storage in containment vaults, the permanent decommissioning of the Westinghouse PCB storage site (near Huron Street and Clarke Road), blood testing of interested individuals, public consultation, etc.

4:30 PM? ETC(04)
Removal of Maple Trees@) at 165 Grey Street..

4:40 PM? ETC(05)
Request to Reverse…Traffic Direction….

5:00 PM? ETC(06)
7th Report of the Trees and Forests Advisory Committee..

5:00 PM? ETC(08)
Raising…Awareness About…Plight of Factory Famed Animals… A letter from Humane Society International (Canada) asking that London adopt a “non-binding, no fiscal impact” resolution (draft provided) to raise awareness about the egg industry’s cruel use of confining battery cages.

FCBG – 2008/10/02

October 2, 2008


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FCBG poster

Every Thursday from 5:00 – 9:00 PM in the Central library’s 3rd-floor Arts department. New players are always welcome. For more information visit the Forest City Backgammon Club website, or phone 519-719-4615.

BookCrossing Release – 2008/10/01

October 1, 2008


Read and Release at BookCrossing.com...

Become a BC London Ambassador!

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Title: Primal Fear
Location: LTC #16 (northbound); London, Ontario
Time: 5:15 p.m.

To learn more, click here.

“Chicago defense attorney Martin Vail, a prosecutor’s worst nightmare. Vail has vexed the political machine by winning a multimillion-dollar brutality judgment against the city, county and state police, but the powers that be think they see a way to pay him back. After discovering the mutilated body of Archbishop Richard Rushman in the rectory of his church, police find Aaron Stampler cowering in a confessional, blood-soaked and gripping the murder weapon. It seems like an ironclad case–psycho slasher carves up “the Saint of Lakeview Drive”–and a hostile judge appoints Vail as pro bono defense attorney, hoping to publicly humble him. Vail is impressed by Stampler, a runaway from the bishop’s haven, Savior House, and builds a maverick defense team to butt heads with vengeful prosecutor Jane Venable…”

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Blogger/Podcaster – London Meetup – 2008/10/01

October 1, 2008

Are you a London, Ontario blogger? podcaster?
Ever want to learn how?

2008/03/06 Meetup photo This is the night that local geeks meet at Molly Bloom’s (700 Richmond Street) to socialize and brainstorm with one another starting about 7:30 p.m.

According to BlogLDN:

“If you want to learn about Blogging, IM, Podcasting, or anything else Media or just want to hang out and chat with people involved with the community come on out. We can help set up a blog or podcast or show you tips on how to improve. Any level of know how or experience is welcome. Bring a laptop if you have one, Molly’s has FREE Wi-Fi!”

You can find the group’s new Meetup site HERE.

Tomorrow is Car-Free Day!

September 21, 2008

Yes, Monday Sept. 22 is International Car-Free Day. But, you wouldn’t know it in good old London, Ontario CANADA would you?

According to the Transportation Master Plan, this city is committed to getting people to adopt modes of transportation other than cars. So, that begs the question, what’s City Hall doing to promote the day?

Well, there’s a blurb on the front page of the city website: “Monday is International Car Free Day – your chance to leave the car at home and walk, cycle or take transit to get around London.” And that’s hyperlinked to THIS PAGE which basically confirms that the city isn’t doing anything. Oh, there’s a suggestion that something might be done next year (“City staff is looking into turning Car Free Day into a larger event next year”), but that’s all.

I guess that city staff have been too busy figuring out how to spend so many millions of dollars on roads this year to waste any time on something that makes as much sense as this does.

Disgusted? You should be.

Other Links:
2008/09/22 – CTV News: Car free day
2008/09/22 – CBC: Downtown Montrealers encouraged to go car-free…
2008/09/22 – Korea Times: Seoul Observes Car Free Day
2008/09/23 – National Post: How mayors got to work yesterday
2008/09/23 – Hilltop Online: D.C. Celebrates Car Free Day
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