Thursday, July 8, 2010

Innovation and Irony

So I think it’s time we get back to hard news. What do you think? Well too bad, by the time you read this I will have written it a week ago, so I’ve already made the assumption. Here we go:

Things Are About to Get Innovated

From the "Hey, maybe this will stifle some of those HST grumbles" file, comes word last week that the Government of Ontario and the City of Guelph has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in regards to the City's plan for the Guelph Innovation District. Now off the top, an MOU sounds a bit like when you tell your buddy that you'll get the next round when he buys your beer, but you say you've got to get home before it comes to that, but apparently, this is big news.

"The MOU signed today commits a portion of provincially-owned land in the district to the city’s plan to create this new, innovative employment area," said a joint press release. The City of Guelph anticipates the District will accommodate 10,000 of the 32,400 jobs projected for the City by the year 2031. "This is part of the province’s Open Ontario Plan to help create clean, green jobs and support innovation."

Guelph residents will welcome this Memorandum of Understanding which sets out a joint vision for the future development of the provincial lands in Guelph’s York District," said our own MPP Liz Sandals. "The Guelph Innovation District plan brings together an exciting blend of green jobs, cutting edge innovation, and environmentally-friendly places to live and do business that will benefit our community for years to come.”

“Home to as many as 5000 people and 10,000 jobs, these lands will bring together the best and brightest minds to address provincial and global environmental and technological challenges," said Mayor Karen Farbridge. "As a carbon neutral LEED-Neighbourhood, this urban village will demonstrate new approaches and technologies to manage the urban environment redefining our experience of city living.”

In Ironic News…

Everybody loves bike lanes, right? Well, except for Toronto City Councillor and mayoral candidate Rob Ford who once said, “I can’t support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.” Still, most people like bike lanes because their progressive, they help get cars off the road and they’re environmentally friendly. Which is why it’s so strange that the construction of new bike lanes should have local friends of the shrubbery upset.

There are new bike lanes being constructed along Gordon St between Stone Road and Harts Drive, but because of the narrowness of this section of road, it’ll have to be widened to accommodate the bike lanes. But in order to do that, about 20 trees will have to be cut down. “Clearly, inadequate consideration was given to preserving trees when planning the reconstruction of sidewalks and a development of a bike path,” Norah Chaloner of Guelph Urban Forest Friends wrote in an e-mail to the Guelph Mercury. “It’s another indication of the lack of regard for the importance of urban trees and canopy.”

The City countered though that they’re not taking down trees willy-nilly. “If we don’t have to cut them down, we won’t. We’re saving them if we can,” he said. “There will be further refinement (of the plans) at the time of construction (of the bike lanes).”

Not cool though says Guelph Urban Forest Friends who submitted that in the past about half of the young trees planted don’t make it past five years and it’ll take decades for new trees planted “today” to reach the same maturity as trees currently in the ground on that same stretch. Construction is due to start by the end of July and is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

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