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Tag: London (page 2 of 4)

Food Trucks

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Photo credit: Goodah Gastrotruck

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.

Orchestra London Woes

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Many have already commented about the news of Orchestra London. I’m probably just going to echo what a few others have said but I need to get my thoughts into this.

For years Orchestra London has had challenges. They have attempted to move (although slowly IMHO) to try and bring a new audience base in. Centennial hall is not the ideal venue for this sort of event. I echo what many say, I tend to avoid going to events there as the seating is just so darn uncomfortable.

What angers me the most is that it looks like someone knew of growing problems in the early summer. And yet it was kept quiet, I assume one of the reasons would be because of a campaign for Mayor starting up.

Relying on a single large source of funding is always a risky thing. When the funding fails to come through, stalling on your required financial report shows a lack of transparency to your own staff, the city and the public as a whole. There are many other groups and organizations that get city funding. This sort of thing unfortunately tars them with the same brush in some circles.

This has put council in a no win situation. Hopefully at the very least a solution can be worked out by council and staff to prevent this from happening again. For now I hope the following happens;

The City Of London;
From what I understand that city is on the hook for some of this amount owing. At the very least pay the staff what they are owed, and honor any other financial commitments as is required. It’s going to cost us far more if lawsuits start flying.

If financial reports are late then alarm bells need to start going off. (For the record I don’t know if was happening).

Orchestra London;
Do not extend any more funding until a plan can come up from an organization that hopefully can rise from the old. The artists themselves are starting to represent themselves on social media and this can only help to showcase what the orchestra does.

Look at relationships with other arts and community organizations in town as well as other Orchestra’s in the area.

Find ways to bring the music to people who may have preconceived notions. For example many people love movie soundtracks but then say they have never listened to classical music.

 

Update Dec 18th 2014

Council has decided to follow’s staff advice and not pay any more funds to Orchestra London.  This is does not surprise and in light of more information since I wrote the original post it makes sense.  This is definitely a case of what I would love verses what is sensible for the community.

 

Letter to Council re: Kingsmills – Fanshawe

Here is a copy of a letter I am sending to the Mayor and all members of London CIty Council in regards to the Kingsmills – Fanshawe proposal for downtown. For more info see here or here.

 

I am a resident of London in Ward 7, work in Soho and enjoy all aspects of what London has to offer.

Council’s decision to stop funding for Fanshawe’s expansion plan into the old Kingsmill’s building is a very shortsighted decision.

Many of you who voted against this campaigned on “Jobs Jobs Jobs” and to increase the tax base. Fanshawe expanding into the core will bring $86 million of “shovel ready” projects to the downtown core. In addition, over $9 million worth of direct economic activity would be realized for years. Not bad for an extra $1 million per year.

In addition reopening this debate would show great leadership of council in supporting the London Plan. Council has shown its support for the London plan and the downtown in the past. Studies have shown time and time again that bringing higher learning into downtown are a benefit to the downtown but also to the community as a whole. Look at Cambridge, Toronto and other centres for some examples. Please listen to the experts, particularly your own planning and financial staff. Part of council’s job is looking at the long-term, not just what may get you some sound bytes and votes in the next election if you are running again.

Several of you have indicated you are not planning to run again. Support a visionary project like this and let that be your legacy. There has been enough negative things said about this council in the last 4 years. Let’s try and have a positive thing.

Respectfully

Stuart Clark

Ward 7

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