February 28, 2010
For most of the past century, it’s been people, not deer, who’ve posed a threat to the bog environmentalists say is an ecological treasure and rarity in southern Ontario.
People drained the bog, flooded it, stripped its peat, cut its black spruce for Christmas trees, surrounded it with development and gravel pits and planted an invasive plant that’s likely its biggest threat, buckthorn.
February 27, 2010
Monday night London endorsed a funding plan for a recycling centre approved last year before stimulus money fell through. Meantime, a coyote has been spotted along the river trails at the grounds of the University of Western Ontario.
November 12, 2009
In Jonathan Sher’s November 9th story Movin’ Along – about a city discussion about advancing a light rail transit system – Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell dismisses the idea the city should consider building a light-rail passenger service to stimulate development along rail corridors. Light rail, he said, is for cities with populations near one million, not smaller cities like London growing at a snail’s pace.
“Light rapid transit — our grandchildren can worry about that,” he said.
November 11, 2009
In Jonathan Sher’s November 9th Free Press story Movin’ Along – about a city discussion about advancing a light rail transit system – Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen said city hall needs to focus more on maintaining and expanding roads already too burdened by traffic. “The belief that most families will use transit is not realistic,” he said.
April 7, 2009
April 5, 2009
Spudtopia, an offshoot of this genus of giant potato, Tuber Gigantus Butleriana, was founded around the turn of the century. After discovering that giant potatoes could be grown, there was much hope for solving the problems of hunger and homelessness – after all, now, not only could everyone afford, they could simply grow their own sustenance and housing! Anyone who came to this community was given spoons and yearly, granted a huge potato from the annual crop, thus they not only ate well, but carved their own dwellings while so doing! Alas, in The Great Bake of 1912, when fire spread so disastrously throughout it, the promise of this grand utopian community ended.
January 11, 2009
Members of the 31st Rovers are going to Madagascar this July, 2009 together with other South Western Ontario Rovers and Scouters this summer, to help children living in poverty and conditions that you just cannot imagine. They can’t afford paper and pencils. Living conditions are so bad that even a glass of water can make you ill.
They need our help financially. They are fundraising to help them get there to learn about the culture, to help build a classroom, dig wells, and do what they can to make the lives of the people, especially the children, better. They will return to London and will be able to show how Scouting in Action does make a better world.
Due to the current political situation in Madagascar this trip has been postponed. Fundraising continues:
Madagascar 2009: Contact <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>Scouter Michael Collins of the 31st A Troop</a> by email, or better still <A href=”http://canadianrovers.com/home/index.html”> <b>The Canadian Rovers web site.</b></a> Any amount you want to donate will help.
November 8, 2008
Fire crews are at the Brunswick Hotel, where a massive blaze has destroyed the 153-year-old building. The building had undergone an unauthorized, partial demolition on October 19 but was shut down by an Ontario Ministry of Labour investigation on October 20.
October 13, 2008
Reading this interview with Moshe Safdie in Queens Quarterly while waiting out the prep of Thanksgiving dinner.
Referencing his experience with McGills mega-hospital, a project he resigned from, he says; Most buildings going up have little or no archtectural input in their design. Most everything is predetermind by developers.
The government sets up the procedure which minimizes the governments involvement in the building with a P3 public-private partnership. Government says, ‘We have so much money – give us the proposals. You design the facility, you operate it, you hire the architect and engineers, give us a product within the budget.’
This is happening across the board with jails, with airports and with hospitals.
“I suppose at some point it’ll happen with houses of parliament. Who knows where the end of the line is?”
Safdie feels this process stifles any innovation. The developers are out to deliver a product at the lowest cost. They have to. That’s the process. If they don’t, they don’t get the job.
Architects are hired who’ll do an expeditious job. There is no place to reinvent or rethink past the lowest common denominator that’ll do the job, which is okay for a warehouse or a parking garage, but for buildings of a greater cultural purpose it is questionable.
When the private sector developer decides what our libraries will look like, what our hospitals will look like, we are saying the marketplace is going to decide our image, our fundamental image
Buildings tell the story of our culture. When we delegate that to the marketplace, to the lowest common denominator, we are saying something about ourselves.
Queens Quarterly Summer 2008
Moshe Safdie architect interviewed by Eleanor Wachtel