York Region hesitantly dipped its toe into the internet age eleven months ago when it announced Council meetings would in future be live streamed between 9.30am and the close of the meeting. There is an audio feed - but no video – which is available on the day of the meeting at www.york.ca/live.

Committee meetings are not streamed at all even though this is where much of the debate (which is often cursory) takes place.

Listening to politicians at work but not seeing their faces is straight out of the 1950s and needs to change immediately. If tiny municipalities across Canada can video stream (and keep a video library of meetings) there is absolutely no reason why York Region should drag its feet.

I’d like to see Newmarket’s Mayor, Tony Van Bynen, who spent the last election banging on about super-fast broadband, stir himself and get onto this.

To other matters… the agenda for tomorrow’s Committee of the Whole includes an item on the Region’s Transportation Master Plan. The crucial issue here is how the Region’s plans dovetail with Provincial initiatives, especially Metrolinx’s work on all-day two-way GO trains on the Barrie corridor. What precisely is the Region doing to help make this happen?

Elsewhere on the agenda I see more gazing into the crystal ball, this time forecasting the Region’s population and employment in 2041.

York’s planners are now telling us that Newmarket’s population in 2031 (as forecast by the Regional Official Plan in 2010) will hit 97,100. The population in 2041 could be 107,000; 112,400 or 114,900 depending on the amount of “intensification”.

Less than 18 months ago, the Town’s expensive external consultant, the famed planning guru Ruth Victor, was telling us with a straight face that “for 2031, the projected growth is estimated at 116,521 people as per the secondary plan process currently in progress.”

Personally, I think we should consult chicken entrails.


 

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