That’s the term I was told is used for portions of the North Shore Rugged Trail. The name is on target and a tad too polite.
One of my favourite places to walk and ski is along the North Shore Rugged Trail, a continuation of the Rotary Algonquin Regiment Fitness Trail as it crosses Salt Dock Road. On pretty much any given afternoon or weekend you will find the parking area full and people on the trail with their dogs off-leash.
That poop on Poop Alley is dog poop. I guess dog owners believe that what you can’t see doesn’t exist. And if you don’t look you certainly can’t see. In the winter it’s easy I suppose to convince yourself “well that’s not a problem it’s covered by snow”. And if the snow is deep enough the poop sort of just ‘sinks’ away out of sight; hot poop on cold snow, like a hot knife through butter. “I’d pick it up but I don’t know where it is.”
Well it’s all coming to the surface now with the melting of snow, and it’s pretty disgusting.
People, pick up the poop when your dog drops it. Or at least ‘flick it’ into the bush where it’s less likely to be seen and unlikely to be walked on. If necessary, ‘dig for it’. I can’t imagine taking a child for a walk along the trail this time of year without worrying about where they might walk.
Owning a dog is a privilege and a responsibility. The trail is not a toilet. It’s hard for the rest of us to enjoy the scenery when we need to keep our eyes pointed down to avoid stepping into ‘it’.
Update: I was asked why there was no photo with this post. People! There are some things you don’t want to see.
Revised – Item 10.3.1. The original post stated that this item related to the Town’s tax rates, which was incorrect. Item 10.3.1 refers to the property levies for the Downtown Business Association businesses (also known as the Downtown Parry Sound Improvement Area).
This week’s agenda is light in terms of items and interesting topics. But there are a couple of issues that people may want to pay attention to. Two items on the closed agenda are worth noting – the Town seems annoyed with a local taxi company, and there is something going on with regards to the Granite Harbour development concerning property. The taxi company issue is also on the open agenda. The remaining public meeting agenda items are largely focused on day-to-day issues and some tidying up.
2.1.1 – is a public meeting held prior to the regular public meeting of Council to consider a zoning by-law amendment of property related to the proposed ‘Age in Place’ development on College Drive beside Canadore College being.
Correspondence and Deputations
No correspondence is noted.
5.1 – is a deputation proposing community investment of time and effort in the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Skateboard Park.
8.1 – extends the HOLDCO (Parry Sound Power) board appointments of three current board members through the end of the year, presumably to ensure continuity in partnership discussions with Lakeland Power.
Resolutions and Directions to Staff
9.1.1 – is a follow up to the taxi issue scheduled for the closed session of Council. Apparently one or more drivers for Parry Sound Taxi have been charged by the OPP. This information was not reported to the town as required by the taxi company’s municipal license. The town is essentially proposing to censure the company for this failure to comply with it license and suggesting that their license will be suspended on another such occurrence. The Town only found out this information by reading it in the local newspaper. It’s worth noting that this taxi company proposed several months ago to take on all responsibility and liability for it’s operations and remove the Town from the taxi driver approval process. It seemed that they were willing to police themselves while maintaining high levels of compliance and passenger safety. Well that doesn’t seem to be the way they actually operate as evidenced by their failure to report the OPP filing of charges to the Town.
9.2.1 – this is a follow on to an agenda item several months ago concerning the realignment of the Downtown Improvement Area boundaries. This Direction requests Staff to return to Council with a by-law for their consideration that amends the boundaries as suggested last Fall, and subsequently amended, by the Downtown Business Association.
9.4.1 – is a Direction for Council to establish a committee to review a new Parry Sound sign on Highway 400.
9.4.2 – is a resolution approving the 2013 Municipal Assistance Program allocations. This is a $15,000 fund in support of community non-profits and economic development agencies. The Mayor and Councillors are being asked to provide their individual preferred allocation of funds for each of the applicants prior to the meeting. These figures will be tallied and averaged to provide the final allocations. I wonder if the individual Councillor allocations will be made public. No, there really is no need to do this and I’m not suggesting it. But it would be interesting to see where individual Councillors think the money should be going.
10.2.1 – is a by-law to execute an agreement for the $25,000 CN grant in support of the Mission Park rehabilitation project.
10.3.1 – is a by-law to formalize the 2013 levy rates for the Downtown Business Association. (Corrected)
10.4.1 – this by-law is for a five-year lease agreement extension with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Small Craft Harbours regarding Big Sound Marina and the Town Dock. No, we don’t own the docks, we lease them from the federal government. The new agreement adjusts some minor terms and conditions.
10.4.2 – another by-law, this one authourizing the sale of the ‘old Pump House’.
10.5.1 – a by-law to execute an agreement with the Recycling Council of Ontario.
I told you there wasn’t very much. See you Tuesday.
Pulling together as a Team (June 2013)
Note: Not all agenda items are covered here. I typically skip those items that have little material impact on the town. These items include simple requests for Tag Days (permission to canvas), Awareness Weeks/Months, road closures for civic events, and the like. Want to see everything that is on the agenda? The full agenda can be found at the town’s website (http://townofparrysound.com/pagesmith/14).
There are recent reports that the rate of property crime in Parry Sound has increased significantly relative to 2011, about 60%. Year-to-date there have been 95 break-ins in versus 60 last year. This is a big increase, but we need to better understand what these numbers relate to. It’s not easy to understand if these figures are for the Town of Parry Sound or the District of West Parry Sound. I assume it is the latter but I’ll see if the local OPP office will provide more clarification on this. Looking at a half-dozen regional news reports of the figures it’s not clear exactly what they refer to.
If they refer to the Town of Parry Sound, and we extrapolate the numbers we would be looking at about 150 to 200 break-ins for the full year. With about 3,000 residences in town it would suggest about 1 in 20 homes will be vandalized this year. This is an unrealistically high number, so the property crime figures probably apply to the District of Parry Sound. If it is I’d like to see the news outlets appropriately qualify their news stories, it’s too easy for them to pick up news on the wire, reword it slightly and never look at what it really implies and applies to.
The general regional increase is not a surprise if you have been ‘flower watching’ this summer. For the last couple of summers the Town of Parry Sound has planted petunias in the flower boxes on the Bowes Street bridge. Perhaps you have noted how this year, much more than last, flowers from these boxes have been torn out on a too regular basis. This is vandalism and petty crime that makes little sense but may be an indicator of a more systemic problem. One year of increased ‘flower pulling’ doesn’t define a breakdown in the local social fabric, nor does one year of increased district property crimes.
If you have been exposed to the ‘Broken Windows Theory‘ you can see where I am headed. The theory suggests two concepts: proactively dealing with petty crime (graffiti, littering) can reduce the incidence of more serious crime, and quickly dealing with petty crime can prevent it from continuing or becoming a ‘habit’. For example, removing graffiti quickly generally reduces its proliferation, and keeping a street litter free results in less littering. The net/net is that if a town is clean and tidy people will tend to keep it clean and tidy. If it’s messy, people have a tendency not to think twice when littering. This is also why the police tend to monitor and ticket for simple things like seat belt infractions. People are more likely to pay attention to the rules of the road, red lights, drunk driving, speeding if they know that it matters and it’s being watched.
The flowers on the bridge may be our way of gauging the town’s petty crime ‘temperature’. The increase in flower pulling and a general sense of civic ‘disobedience’ is not a good sign when understood in the context of the larger district crime increase.
So what’s to be done? In terms of the regional picture this is an issue that needs to be monitored and addressed by the many communities, the OPP and regional officials if the recent increase in ‘crime’ is more than an aberration. In terms of Parry Sound we need to stay on top of things like the ripped out flowers, littering and petty vandalism, and address them quickly. The Broken Windows Theory suggests the best way to prevent littering is to pick up the litter right away, and the way to reduce graffiti is to remove it right away.
If the town wants to have flowers on the bridge where they can be torn out there needs to be a commitment to replacing them; right away. Better no flowers than pillaged flower boxes.
I have commented several times on the need and challenge related to addressing the issue of charitable organization waste. I won’t repeat my arguments on why the town needs to take on a more active role in the disposal except to offer the picture below.
Driving by the Salvation Army this morning I stopped to see what had been ‘donated’ over the weekend and took the picture above. As you can see someone had ‘considerately’ donated an old three-section sofa. And because the individual(s) didn’t want to have their generosity acknowledged it seems they decided to drop it off over the weekend when the store was closed.
So what does the Salvation Army do with this donation? The really don’t have the space to inventory it. And how can they in good conscience sell it without a proper cleaning? Who knows where and what the couch was used for prior to the drop off. I find it a little bit scary to think about taking it home, even in an unfinished basement.
The answer is of course is to pay to dispose of it. What the cost might be for this type of ‘commercial’ waste I don’t know. If a Parry Sound resident were to bring it to the transfer station the cost would be three ‘dump tickets’, or $9.00.
But a donation sure beats paying $9.
The town needs to help address this situation. This is not a charitable waste issue, it’s a town littering problem. What would the town do if the sofa were dumped at the corner of James and Mary Streets? They would pick it up and bring it to the transfer station, whether the anonymous ‘dumper’ was from Parry Sound, McDougall, McKellar, Seguin or any of the other surrounding municipalities.
Let’s see how the town chooses to handle this challenge. It’s people who are generating the waste, not our charitable organizations.
As you know I have been a proponent of giving the Salvation Army and other non-profit organizations a break in dealing with the garbage that is generated as part of their community services. This posting looks to the people of Parry Sound to do the right thing themselves.
Exhibit A – Taken 2012-02-14 (Valentine’s Day)
Exhibit B – A Close Up
Yes it’s what you think it is. While people are good enough to pick it up, it would be appreciated if they would carry it out with them. I know there are no garbage cans along the fitness trail once the snow flies, but it really isn’t too much trouble to carry it in the hand not holding the leash.
If your dog was able to carry it to the trail, you should be able to carry it out.
This is not a problem unique to Parry Sound. A trail close to where I lived in Austin was regularly dotted with these packages. In that case I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to leave it where it landed and not bag it. It would have returned to nature in short order.
It’s a different issue here, where the snow provides a delightful contrast. But please let’s pick it up and take it home. It all ends up in the same place.