LACH appointments

As a volunteer member of LACH serving in the spot designated to Emerging Leaders,(very important – I do not speak for anyone but myself) I am absolutely insulted by this abuse of process: (Gina Barber’s Blog) (great piece Ms. Barber!) At the very least, Council should have had the courtesy of referring back to LACH, it’s preferred choices, or referred the matter to a Striking Committee. As it is, I am not sure why I should continue to attend meetings of LACH if our decisions and recommendations are not treated with respect.

I can understand this though. None of the Members of Council have ever show up at LACH to understand anything about the Committee, it’s make-up, the passion with which all members debate the merits of all issues, considering multiple points of view. Wait. A few months back, Councillor Bill Armstrong came in, grabbed one of our drinks and 2 sandwiches and left. Guess he’s found the gravy train – and here I thought it was a small thank-you for my volunteerism.

The story of the Lombardo Hydroplane is so typical of London’s disregard for local heritage, culture and history. That’s why the London Free Press has to run articles asking “Who Are We?” While City Hall is not entirely at fault (I’m not naive enough for that) our disregard for local history in our schools, and the lack of a)a City Archives and b)a true City Museum (not an Art Gallery w/ some local history exhibits as good a job as ML does) add up to a lack of care for local heritage and the constant loss of our assets, degredation of environment, etc.

People don’t attend public meetings in part, because notice is very poor and City Councillors simply aren’t well enough resourced or paid to engage citizens to the degree a City requires to build a deep sense of community and a diverse economy. Londoners also aren’t tremendously well informed about development or its economic impacts and why taxes are fairly high relative to the services provided. Hence, more sprawl, more traffic, less community.

Sorry. I started on one thing but I see the Hydroplane as symbolic of a much deeper problem. It’s the same problem that allows Orser to pull such a move at Council and the others to go along with his abuse of process. But…most Councils also ring the horses when one is attacked, fairly or not, by members of what is an emerging class of journalist and citizen activists. I better watch what I say on my blog I guess. Barry Wells (aka Butch McCarthy) has watched Council and I’m sure, been disappointed with its decisions on countless occasions. London Council has made some breathtakingly bad decisions, but its also made some good ones and laws, like sausages, are always unsightly when made in public. That said, he didn’t deserve the disrespect of Council either.

As to Doug Flood, while he is obstreperous at best, and even had the temerity to ask rather pointed questions of a voluntary Citizen Advisory Committee, we’re all grown-up and know it comes as part of sitting on a public committee that advises Council. That our elected officials aren’t able to harness Mr. Flood’s passion for Lombardo, and direct it in a direction that results in a net benefit to the community is more of a comment about their shortcomings than the voracity or communications weaknesses of Mr. Flood.

I thought there should have been better and wider notice but I also realize that not many Londoners care about heritage or the Hydroplane because many of them have never had a chance to experience the benefits great heritage brings to a community. London’s story is filled with disappointment when it comes to our local heritage. The Beck House on Richmond Street. The Brunswick Tavern. The Embassy. The YMCA on Wellington Street and of course, the Talbot Block which while honorable in its effort, pales in comparison to the detail and beauty of the original, as well as being a symbol of London’s fascination with cosmetic makeovers and big projects rather than hard work and local community building.

Thankfully, the Red Antiquities Building project presents a chance to change this history of neglect, abandonment and razing. We owe it to our City to recognize and protect its heritage even, in the case of a few of our landmark structures, when they are eyesores of architectural faddism (The Court House should be a rather obvious lesson.) But who knows? The blatant disregard for LACH’s recommendation could hurt far worse than it seems. And this is innocent, relative to the blatant disregard Council, City Staff and Developers have for the Recommendations of EPAC – a body made-up of scientists in ecology and environment. Look at all the development in and around Meadowlilly Woods for instance. But ultimately, it’s citizens who get what they pay for, and sadly, what they often vote for.


2 Responses to “LACH appointments”

  1. May 30, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Thanks for this. It leads me top read Gina Barber’s take as well as http://www.altlondon.org. All this brought one question to mind: Don’t Coumcillors feel embarrassment? I’ll save them the trouble and feel embarrassed for them.

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