Posts Tagged ‘yyccc

Calgary alderman talking the talk on freedom of information

- March 15th, 2013

gordlowe

Gord Lowe doesn’t always say the right things.

He is one of the biggest defenders of the city’s budget, the first to say we’re getting good bang for our buck, even though many of us disagree.

But he deserves credit for his take on information requests.

He’s right, the city should just automatically disclose info that’s routinely requested. It’s a boon for transparency, and could possibly save the city some cash in the long run.

And if the data is publicly available, I have less concern with Lowe’s notion of charging people to have it compiled to their specifications. That’s a user fee I could support, so long as the public data was somewhat user-friendly.

Either way, this is a better approach than the one taken by Lowe’s council colleague Dale Hodges who was more interested in cost recovery.

Calatrava controversy rolls on

- February 10th, 2013

I’m sure there isn’t an employee at city hall, or an alderman on council who doesn’t want to see the Peace Bridge issue go away. Hell, even I think perhaps the matter may need to be put to rest.

But …

There’s always a but, isn’t there?

Stuff keeps coming out about the whole thing.

The Peace Bridge had many critics, yours truly among them.

I think the bridge looks plenty cool, but I question whether it serves the purpose as it was pitched, whether it’s needed cycling infrastructure, whether the design contract was awarded according to the rules laid out in the city’s own master plan for the core — CentreCity.

Anyway, all that aside, the bridge had fervent defenders. Bloggers, tweeps, journalists, online commenters, but none more fervent than bureaucrats and aldermen.

Trust me. I took my fair share of criticism for columns assailing the bridge. Some warranted, some not, and all in all, I’m fine agreeing to disagree. I just hope the city learns a lesson from what was, arguably a PR nightmare.

So it’s baffling to think the city would have to defend itself against an architect who was hand-picked, heralded by bridge supporters and promoted every step of the way.

I may not have agreed with what they had to say, and find this development a delicious twist of irony, but I will give them credit for lovin’ the one they were with. To the bitter end. Even though I didn’t agree with it.

Just a shame the Chosen One couldn’t see that from his perch in Manhattan.

Bike share a potential boondoggle

- February 2nd, 2012

Bixi

Boondoggle is one of my favourite words. Seemingly nonsensical, it is instantly identifiable with government and waste.

Which brings us to bike share. It’s a needless expense, at a time when the city claims every penny is being spent as wisely as can be.

Face, meet palm.

As I have pointed out on this blog, and in my most recent column, there is absolutely no guarantee the plan will be a success here. The notion of business people hopping on bikes in suits to head off to a lunch meeting just seems like a non-starter.

The whole idea could die, for now, in council chambers, but I fear the city will wind up spending millions just to prove me right.

A bridge too far, and far too long

- February 2nd, 2012

peacebridge

I have devoted a lot of words to the Peace Bridge. The price tag. The process — the horrible, horrible process. The bad placement. The contravention of policy. The delays.

I had honestly thought we all could have moved on to something else by now.

But I was so very wrong.

It was supposed to be finished in the fall of 2010. It is now February 2012. Fitting this thing has a Groundhog Day sort of repetition.

A pedestrian bridge, approved in the fall of 2008, still not done.

And while we have been told the taxpayer won’t bear any additional cost from this deal, surely the delays are costing somebody. Who would want to eat that kind of expense as a business, when they could try to stick it to the city?

City has to get act together

- October 3rd, 2011

cityhalllion
Nearly a third of Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s first term is done, and while he remains popular with some segments in this city, some of us have been left wondering.

Where are we with the bold agenda he set out in the election? Here’s hoping he rolls out a checklist around the anniversary, because we’re wondering.

But beyond the mayor, our aldermen have a lot to answer for as I mention in this week’s column. A year later,it doesn’t feel as if anything has changed.

And things really need to change.