Small Town Sprawl

We’re working through the Strategic Planning process, and we just had a series of public engagement opportunities where residents could talk about their vision and hopes for Brighton’s future, their recommendations for new initiatives or improvements, and even their concerns and frustrations. Excellent exercises, and we had over 60 of our neighbours participate. Going throughContinue reading “Small Town Sprawl”

The Municipality, and the Community

The way that we talk about ourselves can reveal a lot about us, but it can also obscure some important distinctions. What does it really mean when I say that I’m from Brighton? I might be referring to the Municipality of Brighton, which is a place with defined boundaries, but which is also a localContinue reading “The Municipality, and the Community”

Who Pays for That?

The history of government in Ontario has been an ongoing back and forth between municipalities and the province about who takes responsibility for which services. You’ve probably heard municipalities groan about “downloading”, when the provincial government passes responsibility down to municipalities – sometimes with the funding to match, sometimes not. You’ve probably also heard aboutContinue reading “Who Pays for That?”

Going Through the Motions

As I read the agenda for Monday’s meeting, I paused on a phrase in the partnership agreement between the Municipality and the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board. Under the rules of how their Board of Directors will function, it said that the Board will: 5. Be an initiator of policy, not merely a reactorContinue reading “Going Through the Motions”

If A Tree Falls

Few things are more associated with environmentalism than protecting and planting trees. I was known as “the green guy” long before I was elected to council, which may be why I hear about trees so often, but I hear about it almost as much as I hear about bad traffic. So here are a fewContinue reading “If A Tree Falls”


Accessibility is an incredibly important issue, and one that’s often poorly understood. What is accessibility, and how does it play out in a small town context? How does our municipality address it? What does Accessible mean? Accessibility, at its core, is about who gets included. The Brighton Accessibility Committee, which just had our first 2023Continue reading “Accessibility”

The Politics of Snow Removal

Some people think that Canada’s national sport is hockey; I think I was in my 20’s when I was told that it is, in fact, lacrosse. Turns out it’s both. (Yup, there’s a law for that.) But whatever our national sport is, I think it almost goes without saying that our national pastime, official orContinue reading “The Politics of Snow Removal”

Budgets and the Cost of Councillors

Across Ontario, municipalities are approving budgets. It’s always a controversial time: my top priorities for spending might be your lowest priorities, and there’s always pressure to keep taxes low (yes, I say KEEP taxes low, because whatever you’ve heard our taxes are relatively quite low). Any spending at all is a travesty, according to some.Continue reading “Budgets and the Cost of Councillors”

Economic Development

Few politicians get elected without promising “jobs, jobs, jobs!” At the same time, it seems like the folks most interested in job creation don’t want to see those jobs be government jobs: there’s a long history in North America of distrust toward the public sector, and a commitment to free markets and privileging the privateContinue reading “Economic Development”

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

The phrase “think globally, act locally” has been a touchstone of the environmental movement since the 1970’s, a constant reminder that the things that we do in our local context can affect other communities around the world. That’s a message that doesn’t always sink in: I once witnessed a council meeting (thankfully not here inContinue reading “Thinking Globally, Acting Locally”