View from a Plumber

Ok now we are talking about a subject that I actually know something about. Namely plumbing, more specifically all those poor souls that have frozen main water pipes and no water for the past week or so.
Firstly a little bit of an explanation:
By Ontario Plumbing Code your main water service from the street to your house should be buried a minimum 5ft underground. In a normal winter the frost will get down around 18 – 24 inches. This winter I would guess with most of Ontario temperatures staying down below minus 10C and as low as minus 30C, on occasion for most of February and a good chunk of January. I bet the frost is down around 3 feet or more. That should not bother most home owners in Collingwood. Where people have been having a problem is a few property’s mainly on the east side of town have shale at the street a couple of feet down, making it impossible to dig the original water main deep enough. I have witnessed these situations myself and the only solution is to cover the pipe with a couple of layers of 2 inch Styrofoam insulation. This is a good solution in a normal winter, but this winter, probably not. Also when the water main was originally installed your local building inspector does not watch every part of the installation process, he checks the depth at the street. What happens between that connection point and the house is the responsibility of the person installing the pipe. Usually at that stage everyone is in a rush to get the trench filled in and get the ground levelled off, so mistakes in the depth of the main can be made. Especially if your friendly local plumber plumbs like I write blogs.

So what do you do if you wake up one morning and you have no water and its negative 20C outside? The first thing to do is go and knock on your neighbors house and see if they have water. If they do and you get along with them, ask if you can hook your outside hose bib onto their outside hose bib. Your normal everyday garden hose has a female threaded connection one end and a male connection the other. Both hose bibs on each house will be male threaded connections. To solve this problem, take one of the hoses from the back of your washing machine to make a female to female hose connection on the garden hose. Hook the hose between the two houses, turn on hose bib drain valve that you turned off and drained in the fall, then turn on both hose bibs, turn off house main shut off valve, leave one tap in your house running to stop the hose from freezing and bingo bango bongo you should have water.

Ok now you have water and you’ve solved the immediate problem. One way to thaw the main water pipe is by running an electric current through it, only possible if it’s steel or copper pipe. If its plastic, I have heard that there is a machine that will spray super heated water down the inside of the water main but I would very much doubt if that piece of equipment is available in Collingwood. So assume there is nothing you can do except wait. What can supply enough electric current to thaw a copper water main? A welding machine. Let’s assume your main is copper. You have to dig one end up at the street with a back hoe (too frozen to dig by hand). You put the negative ground on the street end of your water main and clamp the positive cable at the main shut off valve in the house, then crank up your welding machine at full voltage. It will thaw your water main in around 30 minutes. You have to be careful not to leave it on too long because the current will melt the solder in the copper fittings.

Once you have the water back on you have to leave a tap running to stop further freezing. Expose your main the following spring and find out where it is not a minimum of 5ft deep. If you have to wait for the big thaw, make sure when you leave the house your main shut off valve is closed to save a flood. Open it again when you return home so you know when the water comes back on.

The above advice is worth around a hundred bucks. I selflessly give this to you today free of charge as a public service to the good people of Collingwood. :)

Wasn’t the Georgian Bay diminishing water level “Settled Science” also?

I’m what is euphemistically called a “Man Made Climate Change Denier”. Yeah that’s right, a knuckle dragging, head up my ass, can’t see the forest for the tree’s “Global Warming Skeptic”. All of you that think that that particular branch of science is “settled” need not read any further, you can happily go back to your Facebook and Twitter feeds. The two people that are left read on:

Last night I was catching up on my “Vice News” online news feed. If you haven’t been introduced to this online news channel it’s very good, believe it or not it’s a Canadian product. It was founded as “Vice Magazine” in Montreal back in 1994. Then two years ago it spun off to Vice Media, it has a decidedly lefty spin to its reporting, which I find is usually the case in independent online news media, because the target audience are young urban hipsters, not old rural dwelling farts like myself (many years ago I was an urban hipster though). Vice News has now gone mainstream, HBO has picked them up for half hour news specials, which they are now in Season 2. As mentioned earlier, I was watching episode 2 of season 2 last night. It was reporting on the melting ice sheet in Greenland. I was watching this show in complete horror, as the show detailed, in dramatic film footage, the Greenland ice sheet and glacial formations, disappearing right in front of our eyes, the show is here:

I refer to myself as a “Knuckle-dragging Neanderthal” but I’m being facetious by describing myself in that way. I merely use that analogy because that’s how others with a leftward bias refer to my world view (my eldest daughter for instance). Because I can be “enlightened”. So after seeing the above program, which came from what I believed was a trusted news source and listening on the show to the Greenland ice sheets “expert”, who was making dire predictions that the Greenland ice sheet will be gone within a hundred years and world sea levels will rise 23 ft. Turning New York, Vancouver and London into the 22nd century’s new hot spot scuba diving destinations. I thought I better take a closer look at this Greenland ice sheet situation and get ready to order up my new Toyota Prius. I did some research online.

After about 4 hours of digging, until the wee hours of Sunday morning. I discovered that it’s not quite as simple as this program is making it out to be. I found out that the glaciers at the south west end of Greenland, which is the location of this Vice News program being filmed, have been retreating at an ever alarming rate and they have been doing this since 1971. BUT, and this is a very big BUT in the global warming argument. This phenomena is very much cyclical and that the Greenland ice sheet has actually now started gaining ice at previously unheard of levels as detailed here:

In the course of my research I did find a lot of scare mongering the “sky is falling” type articles that say the complete opposite of the above. Which proves to me that this science is far from settled and before we as a society beggar ourselves and our children, trying to combat something that is FAR from settled we need to start having some open honest conversations about “Man Made” global warming and the scientists need to start getting on the same page. That 97% number of scientists that agree with global warming, is a farcical number from a few years ago and scientist’s that are sceptical of it are growing in ever increasing numbers. The problem with the settled science mantra, is that it is now very difficult for people to get funding to study an opposite view point.
Locally (I won’t mention the past two winters) but you only have to take a look at the lake levels that only 2 short years ago were supposedly in complete free fall, because of man made global warming. Our mayor attended a number of gab-fests trying to put a stop to this pending disaster which was going to turn water front properties into inland cabins, miles away from the water. If you visited the harbour last summer, the level is a good 4 feet up from where it was in 2012. What this tells me is the “experts” and the scientists really don’t have a clue what and how this planet operates and regulates itself. One last thing when we have people saying “the science is settled”; that’s the time when all of us need to start asking more questions. Because science should never be settled. It is an “Ever changing study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and ongoing observations”. (Webster’s again sorry).

Downtown BIA Election Results and some VFAN commentary:

The following are the successful candidates in the election for the Board of Management of the Downtown BIA and some information I have gleaned about each successful candidate:

Alex Yuen – Potentially a great appointment. Past chair of the BIA but a very strong advocate for business focus of the downtown. Will be open to change to bring more life to the downtown, to make the downtown an enjoyable shopping experience and place to visit.

Michael Christie - Good appointment. Thoughtful, pragmatic and progressive. Just some of the words used to describe Michael.

Penny Skelton - Could not find one person to say a positive thing about Penny. She is apparently a big fan of Rick Lloyd, so enough said. I’m told she is a not much of a listener because she is the smartest person in the room :)

David Conning - Never been on the board, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt until I hear otherwise

Charles Brand - I can’t find out much about Charles but I am hearing he is not an agent for change and likes the status quo.

Bradley Green - Another Rick Lloyd pal. Works for an agency funded by the province (Tracks). It baffles me why anyone would vote for someone who is basically a glorified bureaucrat so brings very little to the table. He has no skin in the game, he is not an entrepreneur and doesn’t generate any new business downtown.

Catherine Durrant - Good appointment, lots of contacts within various provincial ministries that focus on various downtown’s to try new initiatives and strong partnership opportunities. I am hearing of some baggage, good comments far outnumbered bad though. Hopefully Patricia (next appointment) will be a calming influence.

Patricia Boyce - Another good appointment, both Catherine and Patricia are strong separately but as a team they are even stronger. They own a number of properties downtown and have the business acumen and vision to assist with change, whether that is more housing in the downtown, or bringing non-retail business to the downtown. Switch Marketing was an example mentioned to me.

Conspicuously absent is our esteemed ex-councillor Ian Chadwick, who hit snake eyes yet again. Do you think our pompous friend is starting to figure this out yet? Probably not. I can hear him saying to anyone that will listen “It’s the fault of ex-politicians and vitriolic, ignorant bloggers”.

I have no skin in this game other than I constantly hear residents of Collingwood complain about the shortcomings of this towns downtown core. I am quite sure the owners of businesses downtown must hear those same complaints. They need to remember it’s not just about electing this board then forgetting about it, they need to get involved (Attending the AGM is a good start). This could potentially be a good BIA board if the new appointees are on board to make a difference. If not, much of the same that we have seen in the past.

I will keep a close eye on this board and report back to you on any developments.

He’s Back Baby!!!

I was hugely disappointed in Berman and Chadwick’s first skirmish in the Enterprise Bulletin last week (that’s why I was conspicuously silent about it). In case you missed all the fun, Berman likes the new committee structure, Chadwick hates it (even though he originally voted in favour of implementing it). Strangely enough I kind of agree with Chadwick, but not because of anything he mentioned in his column. I dislike it for purely selfish reasons. I liked the weekly council meetings because they gave me fodder for this blog on more of a timely basis. Now I have to wait two weeks to get my fix of that particular blog gold mine. Although this development hasn’t really slowed me down a jot VFAN still seems to find plenty of nonsense to blabber about and January was my 3rd highest views on a monthly basis, since I started out on this adventure.

This week Steve flies solo and it is a different kettle of fish entirely here:

This is classic Berman, he used to write stuff like this two or three times a week. The blogging sword play between him and Scoop at the end of 2012 was classic and kept all of us local political junkies on the edge of our seats waiting for the next installment. He seemed to lose his way after he filed his nomination papers to run for council and even after the municipal election he just hasn’t had his blogging mojo. This EB pulpit is exactly what he needed to get him back to his old combative self. Take a look at the comments at the end of the article. Last time I checked, eleven comments (OK three were from me) but that’s still pretty good especially in the EB, no one ever comments in the EB online.

Now let’s deal with the content of his column. I actually disagree with him in the first part: Collingwood’s harbour is a complete disgrace and these docks seem quite necessary if we want to continue to kid ourselves that we are a boaters paradise. A chap called Bing in the comments section has the right idea, why are we not looking at some federal government grant money that apparently is available for this purpose? Here’s the thing though Steve if we wait around for the harbour master plan to happen, you already stated that we don’t have the money to get that started either, so rather than sitting on our hands while we wait for gab fests and studies to materialize, let’s explore the funding opportunities and get these docks built. Then if and when we get the fabled harbour master plan in place we work that around the new docks. Also if I may be so bold, not like “Building a kitchen on an empty lot, then trying to figure out how to build the rest of the house around it”. More like building a couple of parking spaces prior to building the rest of the house. Simples.
I have an idea about the funding of this thing: Why not get the 1000 members of the Collingwood Municipal Marina Coalition to cough up $290 a piece and build the docks themselves, also simples (I will get some flak for that comment I’m sure).

I laughed out loud at how Berman without warning eased from docks to c*****ckers. It looked to me like Steve has been saving this particular rant about Kevin Lloyd for months and now finally gets the chance to get it off his chest and in the pages of the EB no less. That’s what I’m talking about!!! I love it and can’t wait to hear what Chadwick has to say about his best buddy getting a very public written flogging in the local print media. I also can’t wait to see what Angry Man has to say about it. I can’t see him taking this criticism lying down. It’s easy to ignore a couple of blowhards ranting about you on their blogs week in week out to a couple of hundred loyal followers. A little harder to ignore it when his shortcomings are exposed for all the world to see in the local paper. A newspaper that gets dropped on every doorstep in Collingwood. The doorsteps of every computer illiterate that voted for him and would never give him a second thought until the next election, but now…….
I can’t wait to see how this one plays itself out. A small prediction; within a week those small skirmishes will be all out war. Where’s my helmet, flak jacket and popcorn!!!

Berman’s back baby, so stay tuned.

Déjà vu……….

There are two constants in the local blogging scene; the first is when Chadwick twists himself into pretzels for more than 1000 words, you know he is grasping at straws and is doing his level best to convince his readers of his wonky viewpoint. The second is yours truly will always be here to point this out.
Our pompous arrogant friend is in full arse covering mode in the following long winded commentary:

Believe it or not I made it through “Whitewash” and its 4029 words, twice this morning. It’s a dismissive post supposedly debunking the report by True North Consultants about Collus and the out of date user services agreement. For the life of me I could not figure out what or who Mr. Chadwick is accusing of or suggesting has “Whitewashed” anything. But it made for a very engaging headline and judging by the numerous “5 star” ratings his ranting’s have received, it got the desired affect. The other thing I couldn’t figure out and Chadwick does not explain, is why an independent consulting company, would come into Collingwood and present a biased report that comes up with results and suggestions that he maintains are bad for the town and the public utility. If I didn’t know any better, as I was ploughing through Chadwick’s rambling rant, I’d have to wonder how this company is actually in the business of performing this type of study and furnishing such reports. Because they are obviously completely incompetent. But that’s the point of all this caterwauling by Chadwick and Lloyd on this subject. Unlike most situations where a consultant is hired, council voted unanimously to proceed with this study and gave CAO John Brown complete control over the hiring process. If you noticed the other day council voted 8 – 1 in favour to renew the contract with John Brown for another year. Guess who the lone detracting voter was? Of course Kevin Lloyd. Also apparently Chadwick has been complaining about John Brown to anyone that will listen for a while now, so debunking this report will also reflect badly on the object of Chadwick’s latest displeasure.
The problem for Chadwick et al is everything documented in this report, including not dealing with the out of date user services agreement when the Collus deal went through, happened under their watch. So the best way to deal with his own incompetence is shoot the messenger and debunk the report by saying “Nothing to see hear, leave everything as is, if it ain’t broke don’t fix anything”. He really starts to scrape the bottom of the barrel in his debunking when he complains about the report using words like “appears” which suggests a guess. Also “might”, “likely”, “possible” and “could” and actually counts the amount of times each of these words are used in the report. His problem with this wording apparently, is that these words are “Conditional” and “More definition or accuracy and fact are required for clarity and confidence. Strategic decisions cannot be properly made on conditional terms”. What a load of bunk!!! I challenge you to read any report of this type and not see this standard passive type language, they are making suggestions, not dealing with absolutes. But his trained seal readers obviously know no better, so they clap their front flippers and lap up his nonsense.
All the above is déjà vu to me, Chadwick was the official online attack dog back during the Chris Carrier term in office. He dislikes this current administration as much as he did Carriers one, plus he has the added insult to injury; that the great unwashed masses, that he distain’s so much, did not re-elect him to council. A position that is his God-given right to have. So expect continuous blogs complaining about everything this council tries to achieve, this time the stupid EB has given him soapbox to rail from. The big difference now is myself and Berman will be here giving a counter point of view and putting some back story behind his positioning and biased opinion’s.

Nobody a Bully?

The following is my trusty online Webster’s dictionary definition of a bully/bullying:

To frighten, hurt, or threaten a smaller or weaker person. To act like a bully toward someone. To cause (someone) to do something by making threats or insults or by using force.

I give you this definition because today in the comment section of my previous post, one of my regular commenters Paul insinuated that I am a bully. Because I have a few pet names like Angry Man – Kevin Lloyd, Fast Eddie – Ed Houghton and the mayor “Clueless” in her handling of the Collus file.

I’ve been thinking about this all day and in fact I called a very good friend of mine, who is more on the politically correct side of most issues, to see what he thought. His immediate response was that by calling me a bully it actually marginalizes people like Trevor who actually have been bullied. By taking this very important issue and throwing accusations about bullying at people like myself it detracts from the real problem and the argument.
If we were to take Paul’s criticism of me to its fullest conclusion and did not have any name calling in public discourse, it would very likely be the end of that public discourse. It would definitely be the end of this blog. I’m not sure if Paul has been paying attention but my detractors have been giving me as good as they get. I have been called stupid, an idiot, was told to go f–k myself and was even voted “Asshole of the Year” last year. Guess what Paul? I never felt bullied once.
I know a little about bullying. Let me take you back 40 odd years to 1960/70’s England. I went to an all-boys, what they used to call “secondary modern” school called Hawes Down in West Wickham, Kent a pretty rough school. If any of you have read the book “Tom Browns School Days” by Thomas Hughes. My school life was a lot closer to that than what our children experience today. They still caned us back then, not across the hand, but bent over a desk on your arse and usually in front of most of your pals or even the school. In those days yours truly was not the handsome, debonair figure that you see today. I was a skinny, gangly, bespectacled fellow and if not for a couple of older brothers and some unofficial boxing matches in our back garden, I could possibly have been bullied. In fact I had zero tolerance for being called “four eyes” or “specs” or “specky four eyes” and it would usually end up with my Harry Potter like glasses flying off one way and my fists going the other. I didn’t always win the fights but the toughest, biggest kids knew that calling me names and picking on me came with a price.

The bullying when I was a kid seemed different then, it was more like name calling or stealing a kids cap and throwing it around not letting a kid get it. Or letting the air out of the tires of someone’s bike, never much actual physical violence. Our school was set up in a way that was almost like the prison system, the strongest survived, the weakest were preyed upon. In those days bullying just wasn’t something that principals and teachers took seriously or were interested in. If I am honest I was bullied by stronger kids and in turn probably bullied weaker kids myself. It was the law of the jungle and I am not proud of my part in it.

I was shocked to read this posted by Steve Berman. It seems Canada’s version of bullying was a lot worse than anything we got up to as kids:

All I can think is Wow!!!

I know what bullies are and I hate them with a passion. I hate the ISIS bullies, the masked Russian bullies in the eastern Ukraine, the Boko Haram bullies in Nigeria, or the Taliban bullies that throw acid in the faces of teenaged girls in Afghanistan, and on it goes, all the way down to Trevor.
That’s the reason why I take to heart Paul using the comment section of this blog to suggest that my commentary about certain political figures around town can be compared to what poor Trevor’s tormenters probably put him through. It cheapens his cause and his message. I hope that Trevor now has peace in his life moving forward. I have made a note in my diary to visit town hall on the 25th February, sign his petition and wish him the best of luck with everything, I hope that you find time to do the same thing.

Council Meeting 17th February 2015 – VFAN Style:

1. Bob declared a conflict with Ace Cabs. Apparently Ace Cabs rents a property from his family. For gawd sakes!!! Is there anyone in town that doesn’t have a conflict with this company!!!

2. A few people received heritage awards. Bob jumped over the table nearly knocked over the mayor and planted himself right in the middle of the photo op……Sorry did I say that out loud? That scenario only played itself out in the bubble above my head. (Good to have you back Bob).

3. First time local bloggers were mentioned in an official capacity ‎at a Collingwood town council meeting. It’s about time we bloggers got the recognition we deserve. I am totally verklempt with emotion.

4. Public meeting to allow a gate at Mariners Haven condo’s. Apparently there is a bylaw in place in town that disallow’s gates on residential condo developments. Who knew???

5. ‎Cranberry “Living Waters” condo and hotel development has added 350 new residents and counting to the area around Mariners Haven. Gate is to stop the new neighbors from entering Mariners Havens private property.

6. I don’t have a problem with this gate. The horror story’s that were mentioned at the public meeting; people strolling and walking dogs past their houses, swimming from the end of the spit. This is a no brainer to me.

7. First guy that got up to speak at the public meeting used the forum to spout off about parking in that area and nothing to do with the gate. Sandra should have shut him down, she is defaulting back to her old incompetent self. And what the heck is a wig wag?? Ah angry man answered that one; it’s the existing gate/arm that leads to the property.

8. ‎One gentleman asked what the opposition is to this gate. If I may be so bold: The town does not want to set a precedent with gated communities. Town planner says “they do not want a fragmented community separating the haves and have-nots with gates”. I get the feeling angry man is on the right side of this one. This is a special case and should be approved.

9.‎ A young lad named Trevor made a great presentation about bullying. Bob made a fine motion (at last) to allow Trevor to set up a table in town hall on national anti-bullying day 25th February and throughout April. Motion passed unanimously.

10. ‎You are getting a public meeting on March 2nd to discuss whether retail business’s can open in Collingwood on Good Friday’s and Easter Sunday’s.

11. ‎Collingwood Elvis Festival will continue to be supported by this council for the next 3 years. That will include the festival being propped up with your tax dollars ($75k last year). This was supported unanimously by council. You all know what I think about the CEF.

12. Brian Saunderson suggested that we support other festivals as a town. Only bit of sense mentioned on this whole issue.

13. Fast Eddie was in the house‎. I suppose to discuss/observe the Collus service agreement and summary report. I haven’t seen Fast Eddie for ages. He really does look like John Tortorella, go and Google him and see for yourself, if you don’t believe me.

14. ‎Mike Edwards introduced a motion to receive the report and direct Fast Eddie to bring back a revised service agreement. Towns lawyer through John Brown says not so fast, town needs to take legal advise.

15. My immediate impression of all this as I sat there was a cluster f–k. OK back to my default position on the mayor, she is clueless and providing no leadership on this file. Of course Angry Man wants to put this to bed.
16. Kathy Jeffery, Tim Fryer and Brian Saunderson are bang on, slow th‎e process down and take recommendations from our CAO and not Fast Eddie.

17. CAO suggests they go in camera before any more discussions on this file. Angry Man says he can’t understand why they need to go in camera. Duh!!!‎ Towns liability. What’s his hurry anyway? Oh I get it the longer this festers in the public domain the more incompetent his previous voting bloc looks.

18. They then went in camera to decide the fate of CAO John Brown. His contract is up for renewal and the knives are out.