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”

Process and Delay

Government processes are the perfect example of how to make something simple and straightforward into something convoluted, costly, and time consuming. At least, that’s how it seems much of the time, and I hear the same from residents pretty regularly. I also hear the same from (typically conservative) politicians, often as a good reason toContinue reading “Process and Delay”

Crossing Lines

Long before I was elected, people knew me as “the politics guy” and would ask “who do I talk to about ______?” Very often, the person was barking up the wrong tree: what they thought was a provincial issue was actually municipal, or federal. Sometimes it wasn’t a government issue at all, actually a unionContinue reading “Crossing Lines”

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”