Civic Affairs

Municipal politics

The media didn't pick up on it? Excuse me?

   I am not afraid to admit mistakes.

   I am also not afraid to defend myself when accused of a mistake I did not make.

This CRUZ just got more interesting

   Here's a useful little bit of information out of Tuesday night's light-speed city council meeting: Mayor David Henderson plans to attend Wednesday night's public meeting held by the Coalition for Responsible Urban Zoning (CRUZ).

We're not taking sides on this. Just sayin'...

    In a debate as polarizing as the one now going on about the proposed west-end Brockville asphalt plant, it's significant when someone says they are not taking a position.

Council believes in this project... but we'll be watching

Revised artist's concept.   Usually, when covering a city council meeting, I use the Bylaws portion of the agenda as prep time for the media question period soon to follow.

   The reading of the bylaws comes at the end of the agenda, and it is usually a formality.

It's not shameless self-promotion if the other guy is holding the paper

[img_assist|nid=90|title=Brock Trail Committee chairman John Taylor holds up a copy of Tuesday's Recorder and Times|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=500|height=435]Shameless self-promotion? Sure, why not.
“If you want to know the latest on the Brock Trail and other city projects, turn to The Recorder and Times, the region's trusted source of information and newspaper of record. And that Zajac guy, he's journalism award material.”
That's what John Taylor, chairman of the Brock Trail Committee, was saying as I snapped this picture at last night's special council meeting on the 10-year capital plan.
Well, more or less.
I may have embellished a bit.
Listen, I didn't have my notepad at the time because I was taking a picture.
For the record, I'm almost sure he said something nice about us.
Seriously, folks, it's gratifying when something you write becomes a part of the civic discourse. That's why I do this.

Crankiness in the service of democracy

[img_assist|nid=88|title=Councillor Jane Fullarton|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=500|height=525] Do you think Councillor Jane Fullarton is cranky about being left off the Ontario Provincial Police costing committee (www.recorder.ca/2013/05/28/minister-oks-opp-costing)?
Well, she is.
In fact, “cranky” was the word she used to describe her state of emotion during council's special meeting on the 10-year capital plan Tuesday night.
As a matter of fact, Fullarton was also cranky about another proposed committee that showed every sign of being an exclusive club.
Most of council was cranky about that one, but for Fullarton it was the kind of last-straw material that prompted an outburst about that other OPP stuff.
In an effort to streamline a capital priority setting process that will now take us to a third exhaustive meeting, likely in September, city corporate services director David Dick had a suggestion.

When they said 'spring,' they may have actually meant spring.

[img_assist|nid=86|title=Another storied building.|desc=The former Woolworth site, seen here in a 1960s King Street parade. Photo courtesy of Doug Grant.|link=none|align=right|width=600|height=384]There will be more good news at tomorrow's economic development and planning committee meeting on the downtown revitalization front.
The agenda for tomorrow's meeting includes an update from planning director Maureen Pascoe Merkley on 36-42 King Street West – otherwise known as the former Woolworth's site, the former Liquidation World and the current biggest eyesore in the main core.
The planning director's update involves a site plan submission, including drawings, which means the developers are clearly serious about moving forward with the project (www.recorder.ca/2013/02/12/woolworths-plan-a-go).
The proposal to redevelop the former Woolworth's site got city council's OK in February.

Here's where incentives to business actually work

When city council added the Facade Improvement Grant Program to its Downtown Community Improvement Plan (CIP) last year, the reviews were mostly positive.

There were, in fact, only two votes against the series of changes to the CIP.

We should expect delays... up to a point

Photo by Darcy CheekIt was hard not to see it as symbolic.

There was Councillor David Beatty, one of two council representatives on the Aquatarium steering committee, bringing council up to speed on the latest delays to the project.

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