Looking back at 2009

It might seem a bit early to be doing so, but given the pace of the week ahead, I have the time to collate this now, as opposed to a shorter work week leading up to Christmas or the period between Dec. 25 and Jan. 4, where this blog will be on a hiatus.

So what were the big issues in Oxford municipal politics this year?

Looking back, a few stand out in no particular order.

  • City council’s decision on a skate / trick bike park within the city. A summertime conversion of the grounds at 415 Norwich Ave. led to a rally in front of city hall and a decision by council to move ahead with construction of a permanent skate part in time for the 2010 season.
  • Lions Pool. From sweating over whether it would be resuscitated in the spring to the back-and-forth to get a new filtration system approved, this was another big issue for council to get through.
  • The art gallery relocation. City council has been sweating this one out for two years (the 449 Dundas St. property was purchased in Aug. 2008) and my prediction is this issue, over the previous two, will be a 2010 vote contender. Not in terms of the 2010-14 council cancelling the project, but in terms of framing candidates.
  • Water and sewer rates at the county— an issue that’s still not complete, but exemplified a pattern for the disagreement and squabbling that can happen between Oxford and some of the lower tiers. The work of setting the rates and the overall composition of the rate structure lies ahead as a 2010 task.
  • Policing transition— after two long years, the Oxford Community Police Service comes to an end after an almost-11-year run. Its dissolution points to either an inability of the former partners to work together or the “different nature” of each of the four communities.
  • The Plattsville arena— Blandford-Blenheim turned down a RinC grant this summer for the rebuilding of a new arena, and is now muddling through a renovation of the current facility, without federal-provincial dollars.
  • Infrastructure / stimulus funds— the county is awash in federal-provincial, deficit-driving stimulus cash. Oxford’s total was in the tens of millions, and as a Conservative riding federally we netted a little more than our fair share.

As another, somewhat incomplete measure, I would point out the top-10 posts since this blog started up in June. I’ve omitted the “Open your doors, Oxford” pages, though some of them rank in the top-10 most visited of this site. I’ve also omitted the “About Dundas and Reeve” page since it’s not topical— although it is the most-viewed on the site.

  1. Around and ’round and ’round we’ll go
  2. Election 2010 starts heating up
  3. Interim-control requests blow through
  4. Roudabout ready for takeoff
  5. The Friendly City? Not for its youth!
  6. A sneak peek
  7. Roundabout update
  8. How we could do better than Cowapalooza
  9. Derelict, abandoned, unloved
  10. (tie) We don’t really want your money / It’s time to elect a warden

I didn’t choose the roundabout as a top story for the year, even though it earned the most page views within this site— it was a novelty item at best, interesting for its newness and quirkiness (for Oxford) but not something with a big impact.

Agree? Disagree? Fill in a comment and let me know.

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