Monthly Archives: August 2016

Simcity(tm) – The Meet Me on the Mississippi Edition – Sept Edition – Hometown News

 

On August 15th, an online survey was posted to the Discover Carleton Place Facebook group. The idea was to get a snapshot of Carleton Place today – who we are, what our families look like, where we shop, what we do for fun and what we hope to see in Carleton Place in the future. Touted as a family-oriented community of ten thousand residents with a variety of social and recreation activities we were interested in seeing how urban sprawl has affected the demographics of our community and what our residents enjoy about living here.

With 80 respondents who have lived in Carleton Place an average of 14yrs (4 months was the shortest and 69 years the longest residency indicated), only 14 indicated that the work in Carleton Place. The majority of these respondents described a two parent household with young children under 13 years (53.85%), the next closest group was Retirees over 55 years (16.67%). It is clear, at least in this small sample that Carleton Place is growing but maintaining its family-oriented identity. But are these families shopping here? Participating in community events?

The survey revealed that the majority shop the big box stores (66.25%) but that they still do so within Carleton Place. Places like Walmart (17 respondents), Independent (14 respondents) and Freshco (15 respondents) received special mention. However 20% indicated that they still shopped downtown and called attention to local favourites like The Granary (7 respondents), Apple Cheeks (5 respondents) and the Farmer’s Market (7 respondents). Despite many rumors to the contrary, it would seem that shopping local, at least among those surveyed was still the norm. Only 5% indicated that they shopped mostly in Kanata/Ottawa or in other area communities (1.25%) like Almonte and Perth. Of these shoppers, 85% answered that they shop in Carleton Place 4+ times every month. It would appear that our young families are shopping for the majority of their needs right here in town.

Of particular interest was that less than half indicated that they participated in local events or social activities, only 42.5% of the total respondents. Those that do participate ranked the most popular items to be The Bridge Street Bazaar (10), Annual Parades (8), Lambsdown Festival (6) and Canada Day at Riverside Park (6). These annual festivals scored the highest in the survey while smaller weekly outings like Movie Night, Cruise Nights, Hockey Games, trips to the legion or Comedy Night were noted but only mentioned once or twice. Scrolling through some of the feedback it would appear that there is a general lack of knowledge about the types of activities that are available in Carleton Place. The new community calendar available on the Downtown Carleton Place website (http://downtowncarletonplace.com/community-calendar/) will hopefully assist in spreading the word on all the great social activities available.

When it comes to eating out it seems Carleton Place is the place to make your reservation. There are dozens of restaurants ranging from food trucks, pub food and pizza to Greek, Vietnamese and fine dining there is an abundance of choice and it seems as though the community is enjoying date night in town. Nearly half, 42.5% eat out at Carleton Place restaurants weekly and 32.5% eat out at least once a month.

Not everything is good when repeated however and many respondents indicated that it would be an improvement to Carleton Place if there were fewer hair salons, barbers, pizza restaurants, thrift stores and tattoo parlours. A desire for new and unique businesses and variety downtown seemed to be the focus for many, stores like a gift shop, an arts and crafts store, book store and boutique hotel. Ironically many of the suggestions were businesses already found in Carleton Place, or ones that had recently closed. Suggestions like a fenced in off lease dog park, a gluten free café and downtown businesses open late once or twice a week are items already found in town. Perhaps, as one respondent indicated, additional advertising for local business may be the solution. The most common items on the respondent’s wish lists for Carleton Place were a Movie Theatre, Music events at Riverside Park, an indoor Children’s Play Place, Farmboy and more clothing options (for young women and men). Some interesting suggestions were paddleboat rentals, riverboat tours, an enclosed winter Farmer’s Market, A Sports Complex with indoor track, pool and squash courts and an OC Transpo stop.

There were many great suggestions in respondent’s answers that while admittedly only represent a small portion of the whole community should be taken under advisement at town hall. Overwhelmingly 20 suggested a focus on downtown with things like guaranteed hours downtown amongst all businesses, cleaner sidewalks, more parking, visual appeal and nicer residential options in the core. Other notable suggestions were to clean up the beach, use the river more, promote Carleton Place to tourists, upgrade the parks and add a new splash pad to the opposite side of the Mississippi. There was also some concerns over municipal affairs, calling for all town meetings to be recorded and transcribed and made available to the public. Also, a request for community groups, Downtown Carleton Place, The Chamber of Commerce and Town Hall to collaborate and work together on bettering our community.

When asked if they felt there were enough family events and activities in our area, 70.13% responded positively. Despite less than half indicating that they participated in these events, they apparently believe that there are enough of them. Perhaps with the lack of apparent knowledge of other smaller events and social activities that don’t involve children, we can ascertain that some efforts need to be made in promoting these events.

Finally, the survey summed up by asking respondents why they moved to Carleton Place. The majority (29.33%) were born and raised in the area and closely at 2nd and 3rd were low housing costs (25.33%) and the family friendly community it offered (24%). So it seems we are exactly who we say we are. A family friendly community. As housing booms our needs as a town will change and whether it’s on a social media group or through an informal survey, a “health check” of what we have, what we need and where we are headed is never a bad idea. Thank you to all that participated in the survey!

 

 

River Man – Cleaning up the Mississippi One Tire at a Time – September edition – Hometown News

The Mississippi Clean-up Project (MCP) was established in 2005 with one goal – to clean up and restore our local waterways, streams and lake. Since its inception, founder and primary administrator, Doug Snedden, has been wading into the Mississippi and wading out with every manner of solid waste. From items like bottles and cans to tires and shopping carts to 200 gallon oil tanks! Without a government agency or professional organization tasked with removing trash from our river system, Snedden took it upon himself to fill an obvious void. His efforts, and those of project participants, work to remove dangerous waste and bring ecological balance back to the waterway.   The project runs each year from May until September and updates are posted on the MCP blog (http://mississippirivercarletonplace.blogspot.ca/).  As primary administrator, he coordinates all project activities, volunteer schedules, waste disposal, boat and vehicle operations, safety procedures, coordinates with outside services like the town and police department and maintains the MCP blog. In short, he is a very busy man!

When asked what the most unusual item is that he’s ever removed, Snedden recounts a time he came across 10 Industrial Hole Boring Steel Shafts, each shaft measuring an astounding ten feet in length and weighing approximately 100 pounds.

One commonly discarded item of particular menace is tires. In the short stretch of the Mississippi River in Carleton Place between the McNeely Ave and Highway 7 bridges, the MCP has found approximately 972 tires since 2005. However, the undocumented calculation for that same short area is twelve hundred tires. Discarded tires are a very serious environmental threat to our river system. Chemicals like, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) oils and hazardous waste like lead are released when they breakdown and toxic to aquatic life and to us.

In that same area of the river, 27,000 documented solid waste pieces weighing 117,400 pounds have been removed by the project. Snedden estimates that the undocumented total in the last 11 years has been in excess of 40,000 pieces and 140,000 pounds. Items as crazy to imagine as freezers and refrigerators have been removed.

The blog also lists, by year, every item and the approximate gross weight removed from the river system.  Sadly the totals have been on the rise. The totals already available for the 2016 season are staggering. An unbelievable 31,700 pounds of solid waste have been removed from the area in 4 months including 11 – 50 gallon barrels, 6 bicycles, 22 lawn chairs, a 250 pound industrial drive shaft, a tv and a baby stroller.

It all begs the question – who’s tossing drive shafts, oil tanks and freezers into the river?! Some items listed you can rationalize as the result of wind storms (things like lawn chairs), angler mishaps (fishing rods and hooks) or beach loses (small toys) but the larger items are flat out purposeful dumping which is shocking and disheartening. In this day and age of accessible recycling and disposal options, not to mention the wealth of knowledge on how dangerous dumping can be to the environment, there is absolutely no excuse for this disregard for our river system. There is an entire page on the Town of Carleton Place website (http://carletonplace.ca/waste-collection-p2418.php) on waste collection and disposal. When in doubt about how to dispose of an unusual item please refer to it.

Let’s help out our “river man”, our champion of the Mississippi by lessening his load. If you’d like to learn more about the Mississippi Clean up Project or even volunteer please visit the blog or contact Doug Snedden at dougsnedden@hotmail.com.