Thursday, April 28, 2005

Want to join the circus? Move to London

Bored Londoners? Well, there is relief on the way: Mr. Creative Cities, Gord Hume is here to save the day! The next JLC is in the works:

London needs to create the kind of buzz that will attract young adults, immigrants and creative minds, says a report released by a city hall task force yesterday. "At its heart, this report is about two things: First is the economic future and prosperity of London and second is about changing how London thinks," said Controller Gord Hume.

Hume presented the Creative City Task force report to board of control yesterday.

The report has 87 recommendations on arts, science and technology, business, social change, neighbourhoods and environment, including:

- The creation of a new culture division at city hall that would consolidate work now spread over several departments.

- Boosting "creative industries" in such fields as medical research, software design, media and fine arts to give graduates a chance to find work in London.

- A push for more immigration and international investment in London.

- Policies that support distinctive neighbourhoods.

- A performing arts centre within 10 years.
Council hasn't even received the hoped for windfall from the province and already there is talk of massive capital spending in the future. It's no wonder London isn't an attractive prospect for 20 and 30 year olds trying to establish themselves. Often people in these age groups are looking to buy their first home, and well, low property taxes are something one might seek and you won't find that in London. The JLC hasn't been paid for and yet the cry is out for an arts center.

Sounds like something for each member of council to preside over. And as the ghettos spread and noone can afford to drive a car any longer, don't despair, for at least we'll have Susan Eagle to help us bully the landlords and we can look forward to free bus fare and a cleaner environment. Just thinking about it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
"London needs to become a warm, welcoming city that is accepting and inclusive of all people regardless of skin colour, ethnicity, physical and mental abilities, sexual orientation, gender (and) age," Hume said.

Yet he also told board of control, "Let's be honest, London does not always embrace change." [. . .]

The task force report stumbled out of starting gate when Controller Russ Monteith balked at a motion to support the report and its recommendations in principle and have city staff report back on implementation.

Monteith objected that he had seen the 58-page report only that morning.

He convinced controllers to send it to a meeting of council of the whole, probably in June.

After much prodding by Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco, Monteith agreed to an amendment that would support the strategic goals of the report and allow staff to look into implementation.
If you won't embrace change Londoner, we'll force it on you. When visitors come to town you will put on your smiling, entertained face or you will be escorted home.

The whole report can be found here. A few highlights that we can look forward to:
Consolidate all cultural activities administered or supported by the city in a new culture division within the office of the chief administrative officer.

- Establish a prosperity congress to recommend ways to shape the city's economic future.

- Hold a conference celebrating diversity in 2007.

- Develop a regional approach to culture and creativity.

- Have job fairs at the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College solely for London business.

- Create an artist-in-residence position.

- Have the culture division, Tourism London, MainStreet and other groups plan more fall and winter festivals.

- Have the culture division and the London Public Library study the feasibility of London being home to a Canadian Literary Hall of Fame.

- Create a public art master plan, which would include identifying locations for new works.

- Set aside one per cent of the budget of new municipal capital projects for public art.

- Open a performing arts centre by 2015.

- Include a chapter in the city's official plan about the creative city.

- Prepare a cultural district strategy for London.

- Implement urban design guidelines for new developments.

- Lobby the provincial government to give two percentage points of the 10-per-cent provincial tax on admission tickets to municipalities for a five-year period to be used for cultural development.

- Lobby the federal government to give one-half the GST collected on admissions for five years for the same purpose.

- Set up adult fitness parks along public pathways.

- Plant and protect more trees.
London: A Great Place to Visit if you want to see first hand the problems with planned economies.


Mike said...

But where is the bread to snack on at the circus?

The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing, nor declining-city budgets their fill of idiotic white elephants to feed the vanity of schemers. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Mike said...

"Cultural district strategy".

The hubris of these people. I mean, I know it's all about getting project budgets rocking and the pretext is a detail, but the... philistinism with which they go about it is an extra twist of the knife.

Anonymous said...

"London needs to become a warm, welcoming city that is accepting and inclusive of all people regardless of skin colour, ethnicity, physical and mental abilities, sexual orientation, gender (and) age," Hume said.

And the tards come marching in. Don't we have enough people of limited capacity in London as it is?

jd sweeney said...

Sweeney said...
To put a positive spin on previous anonymous comment:
We need to advance an environment where entrepreneurs, engineers, musicians, researchers, writers, etc, feel the urge to settle in London. Let's call this the CGE
Quotient ... creative & gainfully employed.

PapiCat said...

Hello I am Papi from Western.
I've written to those task force people before.

I am wondering how far they are implimenting those ideas.

MapMaster said...

Hello Papicat;
As far as I know, nothing has been implemented from the task force proposals yet. As soon as they do, we're applying for a cultural grant!

Council, or at least the planning dept., is up to other no-good deeds, like the urban growth boundary. Hopefully more on that later if I can find out more details, but it sounds like another greenbelt idea. Now might be a good time to invest in property in London before it becomes artificially expensive.

Diana said...

Ecclesiastes indeed.