Posts Tagged ‘policy’

LTC Items of Interest

September 26, 2008

“Adjusted for daily mix, 2008 ridership…is approximately double the budgeted growth rate…thought to be largely attributable to the sustained increase if fuel costs…should the trend continue, ridership would exceed budget by an estimated 447,000 riders, with corresponding revenue being approximately $575,000 greater than budget.”

[ed: where’s the fare decrease?]

“Since the beginning of the school year and in response to reports of overload conditions across the city, additional trippers have been assigned to at least 5 different routes. The majority of new trippers have been assigned along the Oxford and Adelaide corridors, predominantly during the morning rush hours.”

“A number of issues…relating to the development of various standards under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)…continue to lack committee consensus…requirements that remain unresolved…include: whether the operator should be required to ask someone to vacate a seat.”

[ed: seating policy re disabled is needed now!]

“Compared to the same timeframe in 2007 for the first three weeks of September, contacts regarding overcrowding and requests for additional service have increased by 217%.”

[ed: Like I’ve written here many times, LTC is a complaints-driven system. If you want it to improve, you’ve got to complain, and preferably in writing.]

“The public kick-off event originally anticipated for the middle of September has been delayed to early in October in anticipation of the first wayside sign installation which is expected over the next couple of weeks.”

[ed: I’d like to get an answer to my question about the cost of these electronic announcement signs and how they’re going to be protected from vandalism, esp. now that they’re proposing to jack up fares on us.]

“Over the next 5 years (2009-2013) the Commission-approved provisional budget calls for…$26.1M…to replace 56 buses.”

“Municipal Council…approved a by-law…to execute a Letter of Agreement…provides 1/3 provincial funding for replacement buses in 2008 (approx. $2.056M).”

[ed: Aren’t the feds kicking in anything? Isn’t Council budgeting for the rest?]

“In June of this year…informed…they were not interested in renewing the…shelter advertising contract… the Commission approved going to market…a Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued…qualified bids were received…”

[ed: Ad revenue is crucial, esp. considering the proposal to jack up fares. Why did they only receive 2 bids? How widely was the RFP circulated?]


TAC Submission – 2008/06/03

June 1, 2008

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fowgre avatar[I’m making an appearance before the Transportation Advisory Committee on Tuesday. This is a draft that I’m currently working on. It’ll be updated throughout the weekend, and you’re welcome to comment or email me if there’s anything that you’d like me to consider.]


City Hall Committees – 2008/02/11

February 11, 2008

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Here’s my blow-by-blow description of what’s happening in this week’s committee meetings at City Hall…


London’s Flag Flap

February 7, 2008

The London Fog is right (*cough*) when it says that “Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best was exactly right to oppose the City choosing which communities to support by flying flags…” 01

clipart from clipartheaven.comIf it’s ok to fly the rainbow flag at City Hall during the Pride London Festival, how can local politicians subsequently deny any other group the same opportunity without opening up a terrible ‘can of worms’?

And what makes the top of City Hall so special or so different? Why is it ok for this flag to fly on the City Hall building, but it’s not ok for any mention of our local community association on the city’s website? 02

01. Communitizing
02. Municipal Internet Resources

CUPE’s Poverty Reduction Proposal

January 28, 2008

CUPE Ontario will make a deputation this afternoon that will propose three policy shifts that the government must make in order to achieve a reduction of poverty in the province…


Procreation Carbon Tax

December 16, 2007

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Every newborn baby…represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions for an average of 80 years, not simply by breathing but by the profligate consumption of resources typical of our society” (source: B. Walters )

Barry N. J. Walters (Clinical Assoc. Professor of Obstetric Medicine; University of Western Australia) thinks that the ‘polluter pays’ principle should apply to having children. He proposes that a couple be allowed two kids free, but for each additional child they pay a $4,400 tax at birth, plus $350 to $700 per year “for the life of the child” (‘Personal carbon trading; eMJA; 2007/12/03).


London’s Public Art Program

November 28, 2007

London’s Creative City Task Force (CCTF) recommended that a policy re public art be created, because of the city’s goal “to define and strengthen the city’s unique identity” by “capturing the value of London’s heritage, culture, arts and diversity.” Consequently, a Public Art Policy was adopted by Council at it’s 2007/11/19 meeting.

Public Art Links:
Canada, BC, Kelowna
Canada, BC, Vancouver
Canada, ON, Hamilton
Canada, ON, Ottawa
Canada, ON, Toronto

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River Plain Development – Riverside/Wonderland

May 29, 2007

To begin with, we’re told (“Office plan pleases nobody“; John Miner; London Free Press; 2007/05/22) about City Hall staff’s proposal to scale back the Sifton Properties’ development at the southwest corner of Riverside Drive and Wonderland Road because it would be “an “overuse” of the site that would result in excessive loss of vegetation” and that “it will result in loss of expansive surface parking areas and may contribute to traffic congestion” and also that “the planning department also rejected calls for the land to be kept as open space parkland, noting that within 800 metres of the property there are eight city-owned parks.”

What the article didn’t mention, and what I think is the most valid reason for rejecting development is the fact that this property is located on the Thames River flood plain.

Today’s follow-up article (“Sifton agrees to look at swap”; Jonathan Sher; London Free Press; 2007/05/29) does identify that arguement. Apparently, “Slobodan Simonovic, who directs the University of Western Ontario’s Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction” and who “predicts unprecedented flooding brought on by global warning” has done research which “projects flooding along the Thames that would be the worst in recorded history.”

Currently, London’s policy is to prohibit development on land that is likely to flood at least once per century (the flood plain) but does allow “flood proofed” buildings on land that is only projected to flood once every 250 years. However, according to today’s article, “A UWO scientist warns the city’s rules are based on past weather, outdated in a global-warming era. He predicts future floods along the Thames River will be more severe.”

In light of widespread warnings in the scientific community in recent years, I think that this is an excellent example of a situation which calls for the Precautionary Principle, and that London should continue to enforce it’s current policy and consider the possibility of adopting even stricter measures.

Persons who are interested in this story can read more about it on Alt-London, here and here.

Council Salaries

April 18, 2007

Hot off the press (“Council salaries to be studied“; Joe Belanger; London Free Press; 2007/04/18), word that some recently-elected members of London City Council are unhappy with the amount that they’re being paid.

Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2007 06:56:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Council Salaries
CC: “Paul Berton”, “Joe Belanger”

Like the issue of plastic bags, Council salaries was one of my election campain platforms. Now that the election is over, and like plastic bags, recently elected politicians want to talk about their salaries.

What’s next? The Pedestrian Committee which I proposed and Council buried?

Perhaps if the London Free Press had not totally ignored my campaign, these discussions would have taken place when they should have.

Londoners who are interested can still view my platform at

Greg Fowler
2006 Ward One Municipal Candidate

Since 1998/03/02, there has been a City Council policy which automatically adjusts their salaries on Jan. 1 (never downwards) to match any increase which has taken place in the annual Ontario Consumer Price Index (or the Labour Index, if that’s higher, so long as it’s less than 1% more than the OCPI).

The annual salary of a London City Councillor is already $31,414, and 1/3 of that is tax-free (equivalent to $40,482 of fully-taxable income).

That’s a pretty cushy part-time gig if you ask me, especially when one considers that it’s traditionally been considered to be a labour of community service.

The auto-adjustment feature of the current City Council policy is logically sound, but it’s tied to the wrong index. As I’ve advocated for decades, and as expressed in my municipal campaign:

The salaries of politicians at all levels of government should be directly tied to the minimum wage or what those who are on welfare receive. Perhaps then, they would be more cognizant of the plight of those that they profess to serve, as opposed to their own “entitlements.”

How do you define affordable?

January 24, 2007

Over at the London Fog, Mapmaster notes that a study from the Frontier Centre for Public Policy places London near the top of affordable housing in Canada as measured by median house prices divided by median annual income.

But wouldn’t it be more revealing, and more useful, to measure housing affordability as measured against the annual income of those who are making minimum wage? Wouldn’t that help to highlight the growing disparity between rich and poor, homelessness, the increasing discontent, community crime rates, etc?

Here is my ranking of the same 17 cities, using median house prices divided by an annual income of $18,000:

Rank City Median Price Multiple
01 Regina $115,000.00 6.39
02 Quebec $128,200.00 7.12
03 Winnipeg $130,100.00 7.23
04 Saskatoon $138,000.00 7.67
05 London $166,700.00 9.26
06 Halifax $176,000.00 9.78
07 Montréal $189,500.00 10.53
08 St. Catharines $193,500.00 10.75
09 Ottawa $201,500.00 11.19
10 Kitchener $211,300.00 11.74
11 Hamilton $215,700.00 11.98
12 Oshawa $222,900.00 12.38
13 Edmonton $233,800.00 12.99
14 Toronto $295,900.00 16.44
15 Calgary $319,000.00 17.72
16 Victoria $370,500.00 20.58
17 Vancouver $448,800.00 24.93