VICTORY FOR LOCAL DEMOCRACY THREATENED
Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Legendary urban thinker, writer and activist Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building. She had no formal training as a planner, and yet her 1961 treatise, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, introduced ground-breaking ideas about how cities function, evolve and fail that now seem like common sense to generations of architects, planners, politicians and activists.
A firm believer in the importance of local residents having input on how their neighbourhoods develop, Jacobs encouraged people to familiarize themselves with the places where they live, work and play with words like these:
“No one can find what will work for our cities by looking at … suburban garden cities, manipulating scale models, or inventing dream cities. You’ve got to get out and walk.” _-Downtown is for People, 1957.
Jacobs’ wrote incisively and beautifully on the importance of dense and vibrant city-scapes, famously uncovering the ‘sidewalk ballet’, that intricate dance between neighbours and passers-by that make a street enjoyable and friendly.
Monday, April 26, 2010
If the store could be nearer to the centre of town than has been discussed, that would -- if it were the kind of place I an visualizing -- be a benefit and would avoid sprawl.
The store will sell a fair amount of Canadian-made merchandise, not only things made in China and such places, and it will showcase this Canadian merchandise.
Its manager will have Stratford\'s interests at heart at least as much as those of the corporation\'s head office.
But I still oppose the prospect of having a foreign-owned store, with its proceeds going across the border, becoming such a big player in a community which has comparatively few big retail and hotel chains doing business in it. Nothing that I can realistically visualize would be an asset to our community as it now is and as we hope to see it become.
submitted by M.B.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
There are WalMart stores within a half-hour drive and I know, from human nature, that once they get a foothold in Stratford, people will still want to have a trip out of town just to see what else there is to see but, in the meantime, Stratford's stores will have been decimated. Why can't people see that WalMart is NOT any cheaper for food, etc. as I'm told by my son , who lives in London, that groceries are more expensive when he shops there.'
I wish more people would speak up. What is that quotation, "The only way for evil to prevail is for good men/women do nothing"
submitted by Shirley Davis
Are you interested in the arts, culture and heritage of Perth County? perthartsconnect.ca
Friday, April 16, 2010
"Value-added agriculture and agri-food and small business hold the most potential for local economic development." according to Peter Blais of Miller Dickinson Blais from the recent economic report for Perth County. He also stated; " Perth County has tremendous opportunities for economic growth, they have a diversified economy and one of the things we emphasize is to carry on with that diversity."
A healthy local economy does not mean huge sprawl with chain stores that suck the money out of our county and send it straight to head offices often not even in Canada.
'Strong downtown vital to community' continues the article on page three and concludes with this crucial statement: "Protecting small town atmosphere against big-box mentalities, maintaining and encouraging diversity of business and culture, attracting young families, protecting agriculture, cutting red tape in municipal approval processes, environmental awareness and downtown revitalizationn were key points."
The Avonwood development, if it were allowed in the already sprawl heavy east of Stratford, would weaken our local economy.
submitted by Paul F. Nickel
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
A message from Mr. Al Norman of sprawl-busters:
"I have written about Stratford.
Go to www.sprawl-busters.com, click on "Newsflash" then search by
"Stratford," or for that matter, "Canada" and see all the stories.
Another educational resource is: http://walmartwatch.com
An interesting section of the website is the 'Eyesore of the Month'. Perhaps we in Stratford should shine a light on our eyesores and sprawl areas?
website submitted by D.L.
Sprawl is not natural. Life dependent functions such as facilitating the water cycle and transpiration, the source of all life are not supported, sprawl being so car dependent and downright ugly. Nature not only provides oxygen and water but beauty. How do we begin to again incorporate the values of creativity, beauty and nourishing nature in the development of urban landscapes? Begin we must. Do we continue to create 'disturbed landscapes'? or reach towards more wholesome environments?
Not only biodiversity is under threat by the possibility of huge sprawl in Stratford but also retail diversity is endangered. We can start to make positive changes - here in Stratford - where we have held on to a beautiful downtown, our gift from the past, but we must insure the heart of our city comes with us into the future.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The times of colonization by other countries and mega businesses are
a thing of the past. The New Earth is now ruled by principles of
respect, cooperation and community. Please step up to the plate to
become totally modern and up to speed with the rapidly changing
times. Do not let the world leave you behind. You could make a
formidable contribution by showing the world how to conduct a
business that is totally New Earth.
submitted by T.C.
Exterior "window dressing" will not make a big box any more a part of the community.
Walmart has not proven to be a Good Corporate Citizen for many of the communities it has moved into. A trail of economic destablization seems to follow it where ever it goes. Not to mention the ugly and useless premises left behind by this retail giant once they decide that it is no longer profitable to remain in their present location in your community.
That being said...if 'They' have to come...the city must do everything it can to strengthen the community aspects of our town.
This should include the removal of parking meters in the core (why fine the customer base for supporting our merchants ?), and remove the buses from what is strangely refered to as 'Market Square'...allow a market in market square...make it a community zone...it seems like a no brainer.
submitted by Luke Sheepers
Monday, April 12, 2010
submitted by Stephen Chandler
Stratford is ours to lose. There are those that say "Give up - we'll never be able to stop them. Why spend more money, the OMB hearings already cost the city. The citizens won't accept any more cost."
HOW DO WE VALUE WHAT WE HAVE IN STRATFORD?
How could we get back what we so love about Stratford, our strong and vibrant downtown, with sudden overwhelming sprawl in the east end? We need our downtown strong for the next blossoming growth of our unique city. How do we protect the nature and character of Stratford? The heart of our city is not for sale. There are still things in life more valuable than money.
WHAT PRICE DEMOCRACY? LET'S STAND OUR GROUND.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
This is quality of life! Another reason to fight to keep Stratford the way so many love her. We all need to say NO TO SPRAWL. Less car domination of our lives.... You could hear bird song instead of motors. And see a steady stream of families enjoying the safety and security of walking, biking, roller blading, pushing strollers without the dominating presence of cars.
One gentleman was walking down the center line of the road, with his dog and singing. A pleasure to see and hear.
One shy little girl was trying out her wings on her new bike - still with her training wheels but with such an open safe practice opportunity she will soon be able to loose the trainers and gain the freedom of her unmotorized wheels.
People out and chatting and walking on a spring morning. After noon - our downtown was alive and vibrant. Many thanks to movingON, Healthy Living Perth, Wendy McNaughton and all those who organized this life affirming community event. See you next Sunday and the Sunday after that too...
Saturday night (April 10th) was a stunning evening of music. Our Canadian treasure, Louise Petrie, performed with The Stratford Symphony at Knox Church. Ms. Petrie was in Stratford between engagements at Carnegie Hall In New York - last week and Albert Hall in London, England - the next evening - April 11th! Just one more special night that makes the quality of life in Stratford so rare and precious.
Ms. Petrie is a powerful artist with an eloquent and extremely expressive voice. Vive la langue Francais! Her choice of songs poignantly elucidated the human condition.
Congratulations to Jerome Summers and his orchestra and to John David Sterne and Jamie Klassen for creating such a night.
I knew there was magic in the air from the beginning of the concert. In the first opening swells of moving music I looked up at the majestic windows of Knox Church and saw that there were other beings there enjoying the good vibrations... Against the soft peach light of the growing evening I could see the silhouettes of song birds huddled against the window frames. One bird couple appeared to be especially enjoying the concert as their wings fluttered in the air - love was in the air. Naturally - as the birds and bees....
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
The Ontario Municipal Board decision regarding the future commercial development of Stratford will be announced soon. Please sign the above petition to protect our community's democratic rights.
The democratic, city council and citizen endorsed version of OPA 10 is needed to protect our local right to guide future growth and development in our city. If there is any doubt at all that the heart and core of our city would be endangered by Avonwood’s plan then it must be rejected. The simple truth? The overwhelming evidence of damage done to communities all over North America by the dominance of unregulated sprawl. This was the ‘elephant’ in the OMB hearings room.
I am proud that our city is taking pro-active measures to lessen the negative effects of sprawl on our crucially important downtown by enacting forward looking and protective commercial policies. In the vision of our city and planners, the downtown is central with a strong commercial area at each end of an east – west axis along Ontario and Huron. This is the idea of a three node commercial structure. It has symmetry and insures the downtown remains the central focus of our city. With all the positive directions possible for Stratford, the image of a great bird with two effective wings comes to mind as we soar into a bright future.
Compare this to Avonwood’s vision for Stratford: which is the commercial dominance of the east end of Stratford. This top heavy concentration involving a rapid, sudden and overwhelming increase of corporate big box and chain stores only in the east end will take over and eventually become the only option for shoppers in Stratford. Avonwood says it is important because Stratford will become a regional centre. Stratford already serves this role very well. Why would we endanger our important role as an international centre by weakening our core? We need our downtown to remain strong for the health of our local economy. The smaller chain stores that Avonwood plans for their development should be re-directed to the empty stores downtown. Canada needs Stratford to remain strong and healthy as a cultural, agricultural and digital media center. Stratford needs to lead the way as a visionary center.
“STORE OF THE COMMUNITY”
In the ‘Stratford Wal-Mart Development Update’ flyer dated May 2005 under ‘The Facts’ you will find this statement:
“Wal-Mart hopes to create a Store of the Community with each location. Merchandise is chosen, people are hired, and buildings are designed to reflect customers, neighbors and the community on the whole.”
Let’s hold them to this statement. Let’s dream and visualize what a Wal-Mart that actually reflected the Community of Stratford would look like! Please add your ideas and comments.
In my opinion, Wal-Mart would first and foremost respect our City Council version of OPA 10 which protects our industrially zoned lands in the east end of the city and re-directs any new commercial developments that can’t be accommodated in the downtown core to the west end of the city where the city plans to grow in the future. This would give Stratford a ‘three node commercial structure’ where the downtown core remains central. Just as in the design of large commercial malls that have 2 large anchors stores at either end where the traffic pattern created benefits the smaller stores in the middle, the downtown would benefit and have some protection.
*Wal-Mart would use the architectural method of using an existing building façade to keep the architectural and historical integrity of Stratford. It would be a modest sized store.
*Wal-Mart would build a modest sized parking lot behind the building and hidden from the main thoroughfare and fill it with many trees and plants.
*Wal-Mart would use the most up to date environmental building methods including solar power.
*Wal-Mart would allow the employees to unionize at a Stratford store.
*Wal-Mart would not sell dangerous products.
*Wal-Mart should reimburse the citizens and City of Stratford for the legal costs incurred in defending Stratford’s Official Plan Amendment 10 at the OMB.
*Wal-Mart should donate some of the land they hold in the east end of the city to create community garden plots.
*Wal-Mart should not sell products from off shore sweat shops.
*Wal-Mart should find local suppliers and pay them a fair price.
WHAT IDEAS DO YOU HAVE?
There are two potential appeal routes from any
decision of the OMB.
1. Request to review under s. 43 * of the OMB Act:
It must be filed within 30 days, absent
2. Appeal to the Divisional Court, with leave of the Court, on a
question of law (i.e. pure legal issue). The motion must be served
within 15 days of the decision.
Needless to say, whether either route is viable in any particular case
depends on the circumstances and the decision itself.
*Contents of a Request A party making a request for review shall file notice of such request with the Chair within 30 days of the date of the Board’s written decision. Such notice shall include:
(a) the requestor’s full name, address, telephone, fax number, and e-mail address (if any);
(b) the full name, address, telephone and fax number and e-mail address (if any) of the requestor’s representative (if any);
(c) the requestor’s or representative’s signature;
(d) the reasons for the request;
(e) the desired result of the review (such as a change or alteration to the decision or a rehearing of the proceeding);
(f) any documents that support the request, including copies of any new evidence that was unavailable at
(g) an affidavit stating the facts relied upon in support of the request;
(h) a statement as to whether the requestor has or will submit an application for leave to appeal or judicial review to the court; and
(i) the prescribed filing fee (cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance).