Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Only One Choice or One Choice For Change

With Alex Cullen officially out of the race for Ottawa Mayor the race becomes a three way race between Mayor Larry O'Brien, former Mayor Jim Watson and the man with a vision, Clive Doucet.

Unfortunately with the flawd municipal election process that we have many may feel that their only choice is to vote for Jim Watson. Watson is attractive to the left and right for different reasons.

To right wingers who simply cannot bring themselves to vote for their philosophic choice of Larry O'Brien, due to his demonstrated incompetence, Watson is a safe choice - not too radical and someone who will not change the way things are done at City Hall.

To left wingers who fear another O'Brien victory, Watson is portrayed by the media as the only candidate who can stop O'Brien and and as a moderate and a safe choice.

The question for voters is whether safe mediocrity is really what they want or do they want real change to the developer driven administration at Ottawa City Hall. In that case there is only one choice and that choice is Clive Doucet.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Cyclist Killed Near Inappropriate Pathway Detour Route

On August 13, 2010 a cyclist was killed while riding along city streets in the area of the official detour route for a section of National Capital Commission (NCC) pathway along the Ottawa River that was closed for rehabilitation.

This post is not meant to assign blame for this tragedy. I will leave that to the appropriate authorities. I also want to make it clear that I rode the official detour route and it seemed perfectly comfortable and safe to ride, for me.

That being said, the Ottawa Citizen article did raise concerns about cyclists detouring through the neighbourhood streets which I wish to address. Indeed, there are many people who choose the shared pathways to cycle because they do not feel comfortable riding on the roads and it seems appropriate to attempt to keep a pathway detour on pathways as much as possible. In this case, when there is a parallel pathway running alongside the detour route, not using it and detouring further away on city streets seems completely inappropriate. I have not been using the official route but an unofficial detour that I mapped out several weeks ago (and shared with others) before the official detour route was marked.

Click on Map To Enlarge

As you can see the official detour (and my route) follows alongside Carling Avenue for a bit on the paved shoulder. It then, out of necessity, goes down Maplehurst Avenue and then along the parallel pathway. My unofficial detour continues along the parallel pathway until it reaches the end of the construction zone and continues on an open and rideable section of the main pathway. For some reason the official detour leaves the parallel pathway at Kempster Ave. and meanders through city streets not joining the main pathway till well past the end of the construction, as the map above indicates.

As soon as I saw the official detour route I wondered why it did not follow the most logical and appropriate route rather than taking cyclists, many who choose to ride the pathways to avoid the roads, onto city streets.

UPDATE AUGUST 16, 2010

Today construction has started on the dark blue section of the detour. The old asphalt has been removed and new gravel put down and it appears to have been packed down by a roller. That section of pathway is now effectively open and being used, at least till they start repaving it. The rest of the detour, blue section, has the old asphalt removed, new gravel down, and rollers were on it today.

UPDATE AUGUST 23, 2010

All of the pathway construction is paved (lines not painted) and effectively in use, although not yet officially open.

UPDATE OCTOBER 20, 2010 (from NCC)

Re-opening: Ottawa River Pathway

The rehabilitation work of the 2 km of recreational pathway between Carling Ave. and Britannia Rd is completed. The NCC has done its final inspection and the pathway has officially re-opened.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Canadian Muslim Leaders Speak Out

This statement from the Canadian Council of Imams — signed by almost 40 senior Muslim religious leaders — will be read during Friday prayers in hundreds of mosques across Canada.

CANADIAN COUNCIL OF IMAMS DECLARATION

We, the imams who have signed below, hereby affirm and declare the following fundamental points:

1. We believe in the oneness of Allah (God) and in the oneness of humanity and that all the Messengers of God, including the final Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), have taught human beings how to come closer to God and closer to one another. Islam is a religion of nature and humanity, one that teaches that a person cannot be a good Muslim until he/she becomes a good human being. All human beings are equal, and all of them are the children of Adam and Eve (peace be upon them). The best Muslim is the one who is good to his/her family and neighbours and one who avoids harming others with his/her hand or tongue.

2. We believe in peaceful coexistence, dialogue, bridge building, and cooperation among all faiths and people for the common good of humanity. Islam does not permit the killing of innocent people, regardless of their creed, ethnicity, race, or nationality. The sanctity of human life overrides the sanctity of religious laws. Islamic rulings do not – and should not – contradict natural laws. Islam is a religion that promotes peace, justice, equality, dignity, and freedom for all human beings.

3. We believe in the preservation of all the necessities of life. Islam upholds the sanctity of religion, life, intellect, family/society, and property.

4. We believe that the well-being of our fellow citizens is the well-being of Muslims, and that the well-being of Muslims is the well-being of our fellow citizens. Being law-abiding people is part of the Islamic practice, and following the pristine teachings of Islam leads to good citizenship.

5. We believe in gender equity and each man and each woman’s divine right to education, social contribution, work, and treatment with respect and dignity. Men and women complement each other, and healthy relationships between them are essential to a healthy society.

6. We believe that it is the right of every individual adult person to determine for themselves their conduct towards and within their society (for example, in matters of dress or good manners), and their personal conduct in matters of faith and belief as well, as long as their conduct does not threaten the common good. Likewise, we believe that every society must be allowed to express and celebrate humanity's profound cultural diversity, as long as the expression of that diversity does not include the compulsion of any individual to violate their own human rights, or their personal values, or their human nature, or otherwise threaten the common good of all people.

7. We believe and strongly encourage Muslims to seriously engage in civic life and contribute to their communities and society as much as they can.

Source: Canadian Council of Imams - CANADIAN COUNCIL OF IMAMS DECLARATION

Further Information:

CBC News - Canada - Canadian Imams denounce Islamic radicalism

Why we needed an Imams' declaration for peace - CNN.com

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Ever Wish You Could Really Commit Something to "Memory"

If you are a blogger or student or anybody who writes a lot I am sure you do a lot of pre-writing, thinking things through and even composing articles in your head when you are not at your computer. Some of the best things I have never published have been written that way. They never got published because they never got committed to my hard drive. By the time I got around to writing what I wanted to write the brilliant piece of work that was in my mind had disappeared from my thoughts.

Don't you wish that as you composed those brilliant pieces in your mind you could actually commit them to memory somewhere for later retrieval and editing. Wouldn't it be great if you could have a memory card slot in your brain to save them too and then pop into a USB slot and edit.

So are there any techie entrepreneurs out there working on this (besides the CIA of, course, who are no doubt working on secret brain implants to record your every thought).

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Marianne's Folly - Kanata Lakes 40% Agreement


It seemed like a good deal - a developer agreeing to protect 40% of it's land as "greenspace" instead of the normally mandated 5%. It seemed like a good deal till you realize none of that land should be developed in the first place as it was all zoned as environmentally protected conservation lands. The only thing that made it seem like a good deal was the fact that developers rule in Ontario and have their own kangaroo court - the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to threaten communities, municipalities and environmentalists with.

We can argue till the proverbial cows come home whether the deal should have been made or whether the developers bluff should have been called and the original zoning defended by the cities of Kanata, Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton and City of Ottawa.

What we do know is that the agreement could not have been implemented in a worse way, resulting in very little actual environmentally sensitive land being protected and a private golf course being designated as "greenspace".

The first mistake was in designating the allegedly "protected" land as "greenspace" rather than environmentally important land. The second mistake was in not identifying the protected lands at the very beginning before any development took place in Kanata Lakes. And the third, and most important mistake, was in virtually letting the developer decide what was to be in the 40 of "greenspace", leading to such absurdities as the golf course being included in the "protected" lands.

So now we have an unsustainable corridor of protected land, surrounded by development and barely connected to the rest of the South March highlands . That is what we got for giving up the fight to protect all of the South March Highlands - folly indeed.

Monday, 2 August 2010

At Least She Won't Be Sunburned When She Cracks Her Head Open

Anna Bebon, from Tommy & Lefebvre, is cool to go out
in the sun thanks to her UV-protected clothing by Lole.
Photograph by: Jana Chytilova, The Ottawa Citizen

As one who is a strong advocate of wearing bicycle helmets, seeing the apparent promotion of cycling without a helmet by a prominent local cycling store in what considers itself to be the city's newspaper of record is sure to catch my attention.

Perhaps upon further reflection and examination of the photo that comes with a photo credit, but looks like it should also have a Photoshop credit, I should not take the article, which appears to be an advertorial, too seriously. I mean what type of dock is that anyway, and why would anyone try to cycle on it.

Nevertheless, community leaders should be careful about what type of messages they are sending.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Thousands Line Up For Newest Apple iThing

Thousands have lined the streets prior to the release of Apple's newest product. Apple fans, with their credit card limits newly boosted to the max, are lining up in advance of the January 13, 2013 release of the latest Apple Inc. product whose price and function are a heavily guarded secret. Price apparently is no object when it comes to being first to get the newest iThing. The product, whose function is still undetermined, will simply be known as the iProfit.