Talking with some people at the CBC London studios for their first day on the air last week the topic of how outsiders view London as opposed to people that have lived here for quite a while came up.
There was a mix of people in the group. One person who has been here about 6 years can’t get over how much Londoners beat up their own town. He has found many amazing things that London has going for it.
Is this a case of the grass is always greener on the other side? Several of the staff at CBC London are new to the city and it will be interesting to see what their views are at various times over the next year as they discover what the city has to offer.
London has its challenges but we also have a lot going for it. We need to break out of the bubbles we seem to get ourselves into. We have to open our minds to ideas from all sides. Take the time to listen to them.
A very quickly written post about food trucks in London
Following the last election which a change in council meant a change in views concerning food trucks the issue was brought back to life. Staff is sending a report to the Community and Protective Services Committee on Wednesday about a food truck pilot plan.
One thing that recently came up as a possible item in the pilot will be the requirement that the food truck owner pay for the installation of a city supplied GPS unit. This in my opinion is an unnecessary addition to the challenges a food truck operator will already have.
The staff report says that having a GPS will allow bylaw staff to determine where a food truck is and if it is obeying the rules set out in the pilot program. In particular the rules regarding distance from an existing restaurant and being in a parking place for a certain amount of time.
Requiring a GPS unit is not only an unnecessary burden for the food truck owner but will not do the job the city wants it to do. A GPS unit is accurate but not so accurate as to pin point the exact parking spot a food truck is in. It will take one court challenge to bring this crashing down. Why would the city want to waste money where there is bylaw enforcement staff already in place? We have a complaint and reporting mechanism that seems to work for other bylaw issues. If were talking about dozens of food trucks then a monitoring solution like this might be an idea but this is not the case.
Restaurants who complain about food trucks threatening their business is a bit of a misleading statement as well. Depending on my mood and how much time I have for a meal determines where I go. I don’t consider them competition. If you are a restaurant owner and are that close to the edge financially then there are other things you need to worry about before food trucks.
Recently during the Mayors state of the city address, it was said that one of councils goals will be to make London a friendlier city to small and medium businesses. Food trucks are a small business. If we are trying to become a ‘startup city’ then lets stop putting roadblocks up on these sort of things. The concept has worked in other cities across North America.
I’m sure when the Community and Protective Services Committee meets it will take a good look at all these issues. The food truck issue first came up in October 2012, it’s time we get things going.
Let’s not screw it up.
So everyone is clear I am not an expert in any of the following, it’s just a collection of thoughts and comments that has been spinning around my head the last few days. If you find it useful then it’s a good thing.
Over the last 40 years the homelessness problem in Canada has gotten much worse.
In most provinces and federally, governments of all political sides have not been able to solve the problem. I have become much more aware of this issue thanks for the efforts of groups and individuals to let all Canadian’s know. Homelessness like health are seems to be a very polarizing and complex issue that many citizens would rather leave for someone else to try and find the solution for.
After 40 years we need to & tackle this seriously.
We have had countless studies and trials program showing that the simple fact of providing the homelessness with sage affordable house ultimately solves many problems. It’s also been proven to be cheaper for government and ultimately taxpayers in the long run. Why are we not embracing this approach more?
Political parties of all sides have to work together on this problem. This is not a left vs. right issue. This is an issue that just needs to be solved. Just because the other party has an idea to help move this issue forward does not mean it is wrong. Parties have to realize they are working for all Canadian’s not just the ones that voted them into power. At the same time citizens expect their government to be as transparent about moving these issues forward. Sometimes the choices may not be popular, but is that because citizens have been told things that make for a good sound byte but in reality is stretching the truth? We have seen that through all levels of governments and from all political parties, no one side has a lock on being transparent to the people.
In the case of homelessness we have a solution that gives the people the help they need (making the left happy) and ultimately saves money in the long run (which makes the right happy) Why are we not going forward with this?
Some random notes
- One reason we need a national strategy is that if one province or local community does a great job in solving homelessness what is to stop everyone from showing up at their doorstep? It needs to be a national response.
- Some have said there is something about having larger regional hubs.
- There will always need to be some short of shelter system for emergency and crisis issues.
- Cost of rental accommodation is out of proportion to what people can afford.
- Could a basic income strategy help with this and still be cheaper in the long-term?
Thanks to some great people such as Cheryl and Abe there are some great resources to learn more about this issue. And these folks are much more knowledgeable about this important issue then I am.
London Homeless Coalition
The Homeless Hub, state of homelessness report for 2014
City of London Homelessness and housing plan