The Speedvale donnybrook, pesky bike perils, the SIU dumble (sic), Paying the piper?

Your Weekender


Posted July 17, 2015

The staff recommendation is right about the Speedvale question

There will be a donnybrook Monday night as the “Active Transportation” mob turns up to support its contention that vehicle traffic lanes should be reduced. They contend that doing this will provide bike lanes on a short section of Speedvale Avenue from Woolwich to Manhattan Court.

The sturm and drang of the past three weeks has been stupifying in the abundant absurdity of the silly arguments such as putting the roads on a diet to permit more bicycle lanes.

What planet do these cyclists come from? They use every self-centred argument that includes riding a bike will reduce the amount of carbon being emitted from internal combustion engines. Their lifestyle encapsulates a healthier one. One in which fitness trumps movement of people, goods and services.

History has demonstrated that the advent of the Ford Model T more than 100 years ago, doomed the horse drawn buggy and the bicycle as the major forms of poblic transportation.

Today, the bike lobbyists, a minority of those using the roads, are demanding more access of those roads for cycling at the expense of motor vehicles.

Congestion is a growing problem in this city and it is partially caused by shrinking traffic routes to accommodate bike lanes. The city staff has done a thorough job in analyzing the various proposals and the impact on traffic movement over the next eight years.

It is to be hoped that city council will agree with the staff recommendations and reconstruct this busy road into four lanes.

*            *            *            *

For the love of bicycles, keep pedaling!

So you decide to walk your dog on your bicycle because he likes trotting beside you but he’s a Great Dane who suddenly spots a Pekingese.

You get hired to deliver pizzas on your bicycle but the tip is terrible because your chain breaks only delivering half of the family-sized supreme.

You meet this great woman who owns a car but no bike.

It’s a great feeling to ride at 25 MPH through the intersection until you hit the black ice and end up in the emergency room.

It’s really tough to eat a banana when there is no place to put the skin.

Jeez! This saddle hurts when I ride my wife’s bicycle.

Biking on a rainy day makes you wish you owned a Honda.

It’s tough when the landlord won’t let you park your bike in the hallway.

Stashing your bike on the front of the bus is handy until the driver pulls away with your bike before you can remove it from the rack.

Your $3,000 bike is stolen and the desk sergeant tells you to come back in six months when they hold the bike auction.

While riding along Stone Road, you are texting your girlfriend and fail to see the dump truck making a right turn.

Fido barks incessantly while you are watching the Big Bang theory. The dog wants to go for a ride in your new bike trailer and stop to have a pee along the way.

The cashier in the grocery store makes googly eyes as you are checking out until she sees you take off on your bike.

Your backpack is too small to hold the freshly baked bread so you hold onto the wrapping with your teeth when the parked car pulls out.

It’s always a challenge to be riding in a bike lane when it suddenly disappears.

Bike riders do not eat blueberry pies as they make the handlebars sticky.

You know it’s going to be a bad day when you ride on the sidewalks downtown and hit a grandmother texting in a wheelchair, you ricochets off a kid in a stroller, and  truck rolls over your I-phone.

Bike riders don’t have insurance, what’s to insure?

*            *            *            *

Is the Special Investigations Unit stonewalling the hospital police shooting?

It was revealed this week that Special Investigations Unit (SIU) performance data in closing cases has fallen off sharply in the past year. This suggests the unit is getting swamped with investigations. But that’s not the case. If anything the workload has diminished.

When a man in the Guelph General Hospital emergency room was shot and killed by police two months ago, the only thing we know is his name and where he was killed.

Like most people in Guelph, there is concern about the circumstances of the shooting. It seems incongruous that the local police department or the Special Investigations Unit investigating the incident has failed to stem public fears of the safety of just going to the hospital for treatment.

A man, an apparent patient, was shot nine times by two Guelph police officers in the waiting room of the hospital emergency department.

There is no official explanation of what happened that day two months ago. Did the man have a gun, a knife or some weapon that would cause the officers to shoot him? There is no explanation of these circumstances that led to deadly force by police.

The question people are asking is: “ Was it a righteous shooting?” Were the officers in danger of being wounded or even killed by the victim?

This is the crux of the case. If there was no immanent danger to persons in the waiting room, the staff or the police, did the officers panic, draw their weapons and open fire? Was it a case of split-second decisions on the part of the officers? Whatever the outcome of the SIU investigation, there must be a new emphasis of operational training as it pertains to use of firearms by the Guelph Police Services.

The Guelph Police Services Board (GPSB) is composed of civilians, whose main role appears to be protecting the force and not involving the public.

One does not have to look too far in the past to remember the way the Guelph police handled the dreadful death of Constable Jennifer Kovach. The police clammed up and even the victim’s mother, Coun. Gloria Kovach could not gain access to the accident report until four months after the crash that killed her daughter.

The police officers involved in the hospital shooting who were responsible were back on the job just two days after the shooting. That was a public relations blunder on the part of the police management.

Does this tell the public it was a “righteous shooting?” Why then the secrecy surrounding a fairly straight foreword occurrence?

It affects the safety of patients who must mingle with persons who may be unstable and potentially dangerous. There must be police and hospital assurance this event was isolated and unpredictable. To do this, the police and SIU must explain in detail what happened and what steps are being taken to prevent it from ever occurring again in a public building.

Here’s hoping the details of this tragedy are soon released if, for no other reason, than it’s about the public’s personal safety and the right to know.

*            *            *            *

Is Coun. Leanne Piper out of line on this issue?

When Coun. Leanne Piper sets her mind to spend your money apparently nothing can stop her.

Next Tuesday, July 21, there will be an Ontario Municipal Board hearing as to the legality of the Piper inspired declaration of much of her ward as a Heritage Conservation District (HCD).

This was a piece of legislation that Ms. Piper hustled through council just prior to the October 27 civic election. It was discovered recently that the city hired consultants to assist in turning Piper’s dream into reality.

The cost to the city was $250,000.

In the course of this cockeyed scheme, it was revealed that in the HCD there are between five and seven actual homes that qualify as Heritage homes under the prevailing standards. Another estimated dozen are on the cusp of being declared Heritage homes. This represents 10.6 per cent out of 160 residences in the prescribed area located in Ms. Piper’s ward five. The rest are labeled in Heritage-speak as “vernacular” not even close to being Heritage residences.

Now city resident, Mike Lackowicz, has spent a lot of time and money to bring this matter before the OMB. He believes the procedure to declare the area a HCD was seriously flawed. A deputy city solicitor defended the declaration, as expected.

Then Mike, in open council, questioned if  Coun. Piper was in conflict of interest. She hotly denied the accusation and threatened to sue Mike, on what grounds is uncertain. This is the trademark reaction by the self-righteous element of council … sue the bastards! The people are still smarting from paying more than $6 million for lawyers in the Urbacon wrongful dismissal lawsuits.

That’s why the leader of the day, our former mayor, was considered the most litiganist in the history of the city. That’s okay because they were not playing with their money, just ours.

The kicker is that Piper lives in the Heritage area and told the owners about how their properties will increase in value following the Heritage declaration. A city study echoed the same thing. Only, they sent our 400 letters to residents asking for opinions and a total of 17 replied, some opposed to the HCD. If that’s public participation then she is the Queen of Sheba.

On that basis, Piper is in conflict because she will benefit from the approval of this district. The rules governing conflicts of interest, as laid out by the province, are clear. If an elected official even takes part in discussion and supports the motion about an area in which there is potential of personal gain, it is a conflict of interest.

Despite the advice of the high paid consultants, other experts believe the whole process was flawed. That will now be adjudicated by the OMB.

Since the HCD was approved last fall, has Ms. Piper’s residence increased in value because her home is now in the HCD?

Just asking.











1 Comment

Filed under Between the Lines

One response to “The Speedvale donnybrook, pesky bike perils, the SIU dumble (sic), Paying the piper?

  1. John Carroll

    On our way to work last Thursday morning (travelling on Gordon from Kortright to past Speedvale) we observed 7 cyclists. One was driving in a bike lane and 6 (plus a handicap scooter) we driving on the sidewalk. Nuff said…

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