Planning Notice Signs

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I would like to discuss an issue that falls under the Communication portion of my platform, that being planning notice signs.

We see these fairly often around Middlesex Centre. There is one in Ilderton right now in a field at the corner of Hyde Park Rd and Ilderton Rd. They vary in size depending on the size of the land affected, serve to notify us that the existing zoning for a parcel of land may soon change, and that you can contact the municipality if you would like more information. But for such an important piece of communication between the municipality and its citizens, the signs don’t really provide you with any pertinent information.

It’s one thing for a parcel of land along, let’s say, Glendon Drive to change from low density residential to medium density residential. Or even from medium density commercial to low density commercial. A minor change typically is not of any interest to most citizens, and that’s not really a problem. What is a problem is that the same sign is used for potentially drastic changes, like rezoning from low density residential to industrial. Did you know someone wants to put a factory next to your house?

There would be much more communication about such a change, including neighbouring properties being notified about a public participation meeting and so on. But the point stands: the same planning notice sign gives you no context about why you might want to call. It should, shouldn’t it?

If elected Councillor of Ward 4, I would propose a drastic redesign of Middlesex Centre’s planning notice signs. I would like to see us go from this:

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To something like this:

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Source: http://spacing.ca/national/2014/06/24/meslin-ottawa-unveils-new-design-development-signs/

Ottawa’s is a good example of what a planning notice sign can be. A depiction of what’s proposed, better contact information (like who to speak to), and even a brief summary of the proposal. This is far more effective than what Middlesex Centre, or any nearby municipality, uses today. There are many more examples here (page 2).

At the end of the day, it’s a small change that can have a huge impact on communication between Middlesex Centre and its residents. You deserve to know what’s going on, right upfront without having to jump through hoops. And when you have better information, you can then decide for yourself if you want to take your engagement to the next level. And that’s one example of what I mean when I talk about building communities together.

Healthy Hikes Challenge

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Reading through recent Middlesex Centre council meeting minutes — what? Isn’t that what you do in your spare time? :) — I came across a notice about the Healthy Hikes Challenge.

From their website:

Conservation Ontario and Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities challenge you to spend time hiking in our province’s over 270 Conservation Areas and track your progress for a chance to win great prizes! Healthy Hikes will teach you about the ways our environment boosts your health and how you can energize your body and mind by Stepping into Nature.

At first I got excited about the prospects of taking more time to visit Komoka Provincial Park and maybe win a prize by doing something that’s good for me. Unfortunately, a second later I realized I was thinking of a Provincial Park, and not a Conservation Area. So for me that means I would need to drive to the Coldstream Conservation Area, or walk/bike to Komoka Provincial Park to accomplish (minus the prizes) the same thing.

I think I’ll stick with Komoka Provincial Park, but I would still encourage you to participate in the Healthy Hikes Challenge! If you already frequent a Conservation Area near you, it’s easy to register and log your activity. There are some pretty great prizes on the line too!

Image Credit: Ontario Conservation Areas

London, Ontario – A City of Bests?

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Well… the past few weeks have really gotten London, and its citizens, reeling. Amongst the day-to-day stuff that happens – snarling traffic, complaints about students, store/factory closures – we also have some heartening news like progress on an HIV vaccine, and the ability to communicate with some people who are in a vegetative state. Can London turn itself around? Can we focus less on Mayor Fontana’s criminal charges and mounting legal battles, and instead focus on what the Forest City does well?

I know… in this recent era, you may be asking yourself… what on Earth does London have going for it? Plenty, actually! And I’ve come up with a brief list if things that either London is tops in, or near the top.

Let’s face it… we need to focus more on what we do well, and continue to push other institutions to do more. Let’s strive for better, take risks, continue to invest money where it makes the most sense, and prepare ourselves for the future. We cannot foresee all that will happen, especially with JoFo at the helm, but we can make the decisions necessary to ensure London survives, and thrives, even in the face of adversity at the top.

What else is London tops (or near the top) in?