Excitement building as jam-packed 100In1Day approaches

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Nicole St. John is lead organizer of 100In1Day London, part of a global initiative designed to foster community engagement.

The 100In1Day festival is a global initiative designed to encourage citizen engagement, create connection between people, and maybe offer the chance to blow some bubbles.

That last part — well, actually all three truth be told — will be made possible thanks to Lilka Young, Nicole Patterson and Carolynne Gabriel who have crafted a little something they’re calling The Ultimate Playdate.

Ottawa, Hamilton and Edmonton will be joining London for 100in1Day, which is set for Saturday, June 3.

The Ultimate Playdate, which take place from 1-3:30 p.m. at Cavendish Park, will include activities such as hacky sack, hula hooping, kite flying, jump rope, potato sack racking (in coffee sacks), Ultimate Frisbee, and of course, blowing bubbles.

“It was the simplicity of it (100In1Day) that attracted us, but also the opportunity to connect with our community and our neighbours,” Young said. “It’s such a great, grassroots opportunity to get out and do something. It’s a really great way to get people engaged in their community and meet people they might not get to interact with otherwise.”

Taking place at locations across the Forest City, the goal of the festival is — as the name suggests — is to put together 100 community focused events of all shapes and sizes.

With just over a week to go, The Ultimate Playdate is one of 87 events registered on the website. To check out the list, to register, or just find out more information, visit https://100in1day.ca/london.

According to lead organizer Nicole St. John, the day’s events are limited only by the imaginations of the Londoners planning them.

There are community events by groups such as the Hyde Park Business Association, the North East London Community Engagement, the Blackfriars Neighbourhood Association and the Old South Community Organization, which is once again hosting the annual Gathering on the Green. There are also smaller events up to and including old-fashioned water fights.

As St. John explains, the only requirements are the events need to be free of charge and, ideally, be crafted around the idea of growing community.

“There are just such a variety of activities going on. I’m excited that in the last few days we’ve seen a real spike in registering and a wide variety of pop-up events, activities, things people have put together to do that day,” she said. “I love they are taking place across the city in different neighbourhoods, in different parks, in different urban spaces. Every day I look to see what people have come up with and the creativity is pretty amazing.”

If launching a community event is “outside someone’s comfort zone,” 100in1Day is designed to encourage people to visit as many of the 100 events as possible.

St. John — who said she’s confident of reaching the 100-event goal, if not exceeding it — the takeaway from 100in1Day should be how easy it is for people to engage and be active citizens.

“I want people to enjoy the beauty our city has,” she said. “I hope people get the chance to talk to one another, actually have a conversation and get to know someone a little differently.”

While she will be busy with The Ultimate Playdate, Young said she is already planning on taking in as many other activities as she can get to.

Upon hearing the festival is so close to its 100-event goal, Young said she sees it as a sign her fellow Londoners are equally committed to the goal of building a stronger, more vibrant city.

“I think it’s so encouraging to hear about this kind of turnout. I think that says London is interested in community,” she said. “So many unique events, coming together to be showcased in one day, it’s a really cool opportunity to show a different side of London.”

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Feds, province invest in London’s sewer infrastructure

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On May 24, London West MP Kate Young helped announce a major federal and provincial investment in local sewer systems. Joining her were (from left) London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos, London North Centre MPP Deb Mathews and London Mayor Matt Brown.

A major investment in infrastructure will help basements stay dry and reduce the amount of polluted water in the Thames River.

On May 24, the federal and provincial governments announced funding of more than $18 million and $9 million respectively, investments in London through the Clean Water Wastewater Fund (CWWF), which will be matched by a contribution of more than $9 million from the City of London.

The fund is designed to meet immediate priorities for clean water and wastewater to support a cleaner and healthier environment for communities.

“Homeowners impacted by flooded basements know all too well how important it is for governments to invest in sewer infrastructure,” said London West MP Kate Young. “I’ve heard from homeowners who have been dealing with these issues for many years, and I’m happy the federal government is investing in repairing infrastructure so that basements can keep dry and our river stays clean.”

The combined $36 million investment will be used in projects to:

  • Increase the capacity of sewer systems, which will help to prevent basement flooding and overflow discharges into the Thames River
  • Study and improve storm retention ponds and waterways in London to improve stormwater flow and reduce flooding and erosion
  • Separate sewer lines so less stormwater makes it to the treatment plants
  • Upgrade the main process air blowers at the Greenway and Pottersberg treatment plants to reduce energy consumption and costs
  • Acquire a waste heat recovery system at Greenway, which will generate electricity to be used to power the plant and reduce electricity costs projected to be an annual savings of $650,000 or more
  • Study a new process to reduce the amount of biosolids shipped to Greenway for treatment, which could drastically reduce truck trips to the plant from 7,000 annually to 2,000

“Building and maintaining high-quality water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure is an essential part of building livable communities, “said Ontario Deputy Premier and London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews. “This announcement demonstrates the province’s commitment to partnering with municipalities in order to deliver the public infrastructure Ontarians need. I am pleased that these projects will contribute to enhanced quality of life in London and the surrounding region for years to come.”

The investment by the upper levels of government, according to media release from the City of London, will result in an increase in water and wastewater related capital work by 20 percent in 2017 and 2018.

The investment supports London’s strategic focus of building a sustainable city.

“This funding will help us address something we’re all concerned about — sewage discharge into our river,” said London Mayor Matt Brown. “It will also help prevent heart breaking and frustrating basement flooding for many Londoners. This is another step towards making London one of the greenest cities in Canada.”

London council selects ranked ballot system for 2018 election

City hall
London council has voted to implement a ranked ballot voting system in time for the 2018 municipal election.

The 2018 London municipal election will be conducted using the ranked ballot voting system.

At a special meeting of city council on May 1, council agreed to use the ranked ballot method of voting instead of the traditional first past the post method for municipal council.

London could become the first Canadian municipality where voters use this system to elect their municipal council.

Using the ranked ballot voting system, voters rank the candidates in order of preference on the ballot: first, second, third. All votes are counted, and if one candidate does not have at least 50 percent plus one of the votes, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated and the ballots are counted again, this time using the next candidate choice from ballots where the first choice candidate was eliminated.

The process is repeated until a winning candidate is determined.

Under the traditional first past the post system, voters in London selected just one candidate for councillor and one for mayor, and the candidate with the highest number of votes won.

Council needed to approve the ranked ballot voting bylaw by May 1, according to the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, for it to apply to the 2018 municipal election. All members of council — the mayor and city councillors — must be selected using this method.

School board trustees will continue to be voted for using the first past the post system.

Moving to a ranked ballot voting system will increase the cost of administering the election by an estimated $322,500.

An extensive voter outreach and education campaign will need take place to ensure that messaging on voting and tallying results in a ranked ballot election is as clear as possible for the voters and the candidates.

More staff training will be required, additional staff will be needed at polling stations, more ballots will be necessary and changes to the vote counting software will also be required.

The next municipal election will be held on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018.