Box store ugly

Section: 
Editorial

Dana, and I spent Friday evening in beautiful downtown Vaughan, a new city north of Toronto.

 

Everything I saw in Vaughan was super-sized. A block behind our hotel, at Highways 400 and 7, was a huge Ikea store. Across the road was a street with more huge box stores – a theatre and an Irish Pub. We didn’t walk further.

 

When we returned home Saturday, Dana wanted to see a huge mall she had heard about. When checking out, the hotel staff said to drive north seven minutes and we would arrive.

 

We did. During the seven-minute drive, we saw more big box stores and offices. The mall, Vaughan Mills, was too big for us to handle. We went into one of the buildings, which seemed packed with people. We didn’t bother visiting the other malls, three or four, at the site and headed for home.

From what I saw of Vaughan, it could have been anywhere in urban North America. Just box stores, no old distinctive buildings, no trees. No one in his right mind would try walking in the parts we saw – it’s built for the automobile.

 

Is the province destined to eventually become one big mega mall?

 

**

 

We were in Vaughan for the Ontario Community Newspapers Convention and its Better Newspapers Competition. In general excellence, The Independent was second in its circulation class – first continues to elude us.

 

In the premier awards (open to papers with up 9,999 circulation), we had the second best sports section and the third best feature photo.

 

One of our newspaper friends from Yellowknife, North West Territories, sat at our table Friday evening.

Michael Scott’s company owns a few other papers across the north – when he visits them it’s by plane. And getting to Toronto is a full day’s work what with being in the air and getting to and from airports.

 

If you’re a good reporter or ad sales person and you want a job in the north, I don’t think you’ll have trouble finding one.

 

Peter Harston, a Kincardinite, worked at the Yellowknifer a few years.

 

Ross Dickson of The Hill Times (Ottawa) was also at the table. Kristen Shane of Kincardine and a former reporter here, works for a sister paper of The Hill Times, The Embassy.

 

Scott and Dickson, by the way, each had three firsts in the Better Newpapers Competition.

 

We were in good company.

 

**

 

The bureaucracy has taken control of our provincial and federal Houses of Parliament and it looks if the same thing will eventually happen at the municipal level.

 

A motion by councillor Jacqueline Faubert Wednesday set off lengthy discussion on wind turbines.

 

During the discussion, Mayor Larry Kraemer said the municipality is looking at changing the procedure for motions which would require them to pass through municipal staff before they go to council.

 

Councillor Ron Coristine had the right answer – having motions go through council first would be diluting the democratic process.

 

**

 

The Toronto Star said Sunday that Lake Erie had a sixth of its surface covered by toxic blue-green algae in 2011.

 

Last year was dry and there was little problem on Lake Erie or here, for that matter.

 

However, the lead scientist with the International Joint Commission’s Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority says the weather forecast calls for a wet spring which mean the probability of high phosphorous runoffs.

 

The solution – cut the amount of phosphorous getting into the lakes.

 

In our area, two groups have been doing their part to reduce the amount of phosphorous and other pollutants getting into the lake. The Pine River Watershed Initiative Network and the Penetangore Watershed Group have both been planting trees in their respective watersheds.

 

Many more will have to start paying attention if The Great Lakes are to continue to be a source of recreation in the future.

 

**

 

Congratulations to Charlie Mann on being named Citizen of the Year.