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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered


  1. What we need is up to date information on the city website. What we get is PR fluff which will be delivered to our homes whether we want it or not. Much of this information could be provided by advertising in local newspapers to support their existence in what will be a difficult market over the next few years.

  2. I have to agree with you Mark. This is something that could be done cheaply on the website. However, if the city MUST publish a newsletter, why does it have to be full colour? We needed Mastercard to keep our rinks open last year and suddenly there’s $800,000 for a newsletter.

    Maybe it’s coming from a different budget, maybe it was allocated 10 years ago…who knows? But it’s terrible PR from a mayor that’s never really understood the value of image.

  3. Haven’t seen the newsletter or heard anything else about this issue, but certainly for Spacing, one of the reasons we’ve been able to do this for 5 years, and connect with such a broad audience (not just the geeks, god love them) is because the magazine is in colour, looks nice, is well designed, etc etc. Like it or not, you need to spend some money to connect.

  4. Re: Shawn’s comment…”Like it or not, you need to spend some money to connect.”
    Yes, you are right Shawn… but we are already spending money in this area. This $800k is on TOP of what we are already paying for numerous print communications from City Hall (including all the Garbage calendars and newsletters, and the Councillors’ newsletters, etc.). At a time when people are seeing what they pay for hydro, water and garbage (to name just a few things) increase at a pace well in excess of the rate of inflation, this looks like (and will likely play out a) a dodgy PR move. Oh, I’m sure those who have authorized this, will be thinking they are getting their message out….whereas many who receive it will be more than a little angered by it.

    As for connecting with people, all the newsletters in the world aren’t going to make up for poor service and crappy implementation of plans.

  5. Local newspapers and a better website ought to hit most demographics. Translate it for non-English publications and posters at community centres, and I can’t imagine who you’ve missed that could be reached by direct mail.

  6. Ditto folks!

    Keep in mind this is all part of Miller’s sudden plan to look very busy and making many announcements to position himself for the next election.

    As cynical as you may think I sound, just look at his sudden flurry since the propane blast last summer.

    We must not forget as Miller hopes everyone will, come time to vote this guy out!

  7. I saw the “newsletter” today and it wasn’t as described by the councillors. They don’t like Miller so they oppose it. Pretty Simple. Jeff, above seems not to like Miller so he just sounds-off of it. He makes it sound like Miller has been doing nothing, and now, suddenly!, he’s doing stuff to look busy. That’s more than cynical; its stupid.

    See it before you criticize. Its better than the other publications it is replacing, and for most people, if it doesn’t get into their hands than they don’t know about it. Good communication is one of the problems of the city and this seems to be a decent attempt to try it another way.

  8. @Shawn – they aren’t looking for subscribers or selling from newsstands as you are. Buy-in isn’t as important when it’s delivered universally.

    @Mick – the problem is that this represents a continual view by the city that when the existing newsletters were reviewed, alternative delivery doesn’t seem to have been an option. Instead the only “acceptable” option was to evolve the current delivery mechanism. Not only was this choice environmentally and arguably financially unfriendly, it missed an opportunity to put cash into local media. Wouldn’t it be nice if Eye Weekly, for instance, got enough City cash that it didn’t run cigarette ads, or NOW need not run exploitative American Apparel ads?

  9. Mark, surely you’re not suggesting the city cut a deal with Eye Weekly and NOW to buy up a bunch of ad space on the condition they exclude tobacco and American Apparel advertising? That’d be just asking for a Charter challenge. Or is more cash for Eye and NOW supposed to trigger some invisible hand free-market effect to knock out the ads you disagree with?

    The costs seem pretty reasonable on a per-household basis, with much better reach. (How many newspapers do you have to advertise in to cover 95% of households?) Even right-wing councillors like Karen Stintz already use colourful householders to reach constitutents.

    The thing that bugs me — which fits with a general City Hall trend — is the lack of distinction between a mayoral householder (i.e. political communication) and a city services (non-political) mailing. The Mayor and the City are not one and the same.

  10. @Matt L – no, but a newspaper with plenty of advertisers to choose from can afford to be more choosy without being told to be.

    As for your point on distinction – I agree with what I think is your point. I get any number of information mailers from my bank, my insurance company and so on – none of them feel the need to add a board member’s mug in them.

  11. Regardless of the method of distribution there is no way to view this other than miller propaganda. Otherwise why keep it such a secret or unto himself?

    Mick you have rose colored glasses my friend. A look at what miller has actually done versus what was possible and its depressing. Especially on his green front. There are large scale policies and projects he could seize on but always goes for the puny items. The one cent ideas. Especially if it means a choice between hiring more union folks to actually service the community or inconveniencing and increasing taxes for the populace.

    Have I tired of his posturing and gross waste… absolutely! And from the comments in spacing lately I’ve got a lot of company.