My next question to the candidates is about economic development in Collingwood. Before I post their suggestions, in the next day or so, I have a cheap and easy idea as follows:
Myself and a few of my soccer buddies have taken up cycling in the form of road bike riding this past summer. My reason for cycling now, instead of running, which I have been doing for many years. Was with running, it eventually got to the stage where I was spending more time nursing injuries than I was actually running (I have started to play goalie in soccer for the same reason. Much to the chagrin of my teammates). Cycling is a lot easier on the body.
I had an idea the other day while I was riding. Road bike riding is huge now in this area, take a drive up Grey Rd 19 or Fairgrounds Rd on a Saturday or Sunday morning it is a constant stream of people of all ages and all abilities riding their bikes. But you would not think it. Go to any restaurant or coffee shop in the area and see how many bike racks you find. I usually end up leaning my bike on some fence somewhere and try and sit with my bike in view, or don’t enjoy my meal because I am worrying about it getting stolen, which is a big problem in Collingwood. Also I lost count of the times I have been riding along one of these back roads and some red neck in a truck with 3ft wheels and a couple of chrome chimneys coming out of the bed, overtakes a little too closely at 120 kph leaning on his horn. Not much you can do about that (you can’t fix stupid). But from an economic development perspective I do have some ideas in this regard.
1. As a town we make the decision that Collingwood is open for business as far as cycling is concerned. We make local cycling groups ie Collingwood Cycling Club part of this process.
2. After the above decision is made we pick a weekend in the summer and hold a cycling race. Yeah I know we already have the Centurion but that is Village at Blue and very little benefit comes to Collingwood.
3. Take a piece of land from the parking lot at the pool tent next to the fire hall build a post and beam open concept structure and make that a purpose build center for cycling. Set up a compressor for pumping up tires. You also invite a couple of local cycling stores/coffee shop to set up a stall on a Saturday and Sunday morning to sell cycling bits and pieces or coffee and muffins. Set up a large message board to leave messages for other cyclists. This place can act as a meeting place for cycling groups to meet. Also allows people in town alone to arrive and join cycling groups
4. Have discounts in local hotels and restaurants for cycling groups and people. Get some bike racks in these locations. These locations could supply bike locks so cyclists don’t have to drag a lock around with them.
5. Start setting up an extensive network of bike lanes that are in effect from April until October. There is no point having bike lanes in the winter in Canada.
6. Have a conversation with Town of Blue Mountain and see about paving and widening the Georgian Trail between Collingwood and Thornbury. Make half for running/walking the other half for biking. The reason for this is there are some very good rides around the Thornbury area the only way to get to them is slogging up Grey Road 19 (beyond your casual rider) or the “Death Race 2000” Highway 26.
7. Pick a couple of roads I suggest Grey Road 19 and Fairgrounds Rd and make them local access only for vehicle traffic from say 8am – 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. And instead of the cops sitting at the local roundabouts on the east side of town. Have them patrol those roads handing out tickets to anyone who does not have a good reason for being on those roads apart from it being easier to get to Feversham and Creemore.
8. Start promoting Collingwood in cycling magazines, websites, chamber of commerce as a cycling friendly location that accommodates and is open for business to cyclists.
9. Post signs around the area saying that this is a bike friendly community please share the road with cyclists.
10. This one is for cyclist’s. Stop taking yourselves so seriously. I know that you think you are pretty hot stuff on your $5,000 bike and “Team Cinzano” cycling outfit. Give a wave or a nod to the newbie that you pass on the road, it encourages and enhances the sport.
Some of the above would take some cooperation with neighboring municipalities and townships. We already have the downhill biking happening at Village of Blue, which is a huge draw for them. We also have some great mountain biking at 3 stages and Kolopor Highlands. My ideas above could bring this all together and make this area a biking Mecca. Your comments suggestions and ideas would be very much appreciated below, I know that most of the people running for council read this blog.