Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Manitoba Links Weekly: OMC and Oleson, Parks and Parcels, Libraries and Liquor (ManLinkWeek 32)

Welcome back, long-weekenders! To indulge my well-established enthusiasm for format fiddling, this week's ManLinkWeek will operate a little differently than most of the other installments. Last week's post took longer to write than I'd anticipated partially because -- and this will happen, sometimes -- I'd left an extra link on the list for consideration and then forgot to drop one when I wrote the post proper. (Man, I knew I was forgetting to... well, to forget something.) So this week I'm saying "the heck with it" -- paraphrased -- and cutting the weeding step entirely, instead grouping related links by subject where appropriate.

With all that established, let's open with local blogosphere developments:

[One Man Committee (Google cache): Shutting Down]
[The Winnipeg RAG Review: A Great one leaves]
[Things That Need To Be Said: When a blog exits......]
[Observations, Reservations, Conversations: One Man Committee Lowers the Curtain]
Walter Krawec, the One Man Committee, announced his departure from blogging this past Friday; in his final post he concluded that he had said all he needed to say with the site, and that he would prefer to bow out now rather than risk belabouring his points later. Even though the site only ran for about a year and a half, it feels as though it had been around far longer than that; Walter had quickly established himself as one of the writers to watch in our local scene, and the Winnipeg sphere is noticeably weakened in his absence. (Although, as he would later comment on The Analyst's post, he's pretty sure the scene will be fine.)

You can see above that I've linked to the Google cache of his final post, since part of his departure was the removal of his online archive. I'm of two minds about that practice; on the one hand, I understand why he'd do it -- just as I understood why Curtis Brown or Brian Kelsey or David Watson did it (although I recall Watson's motivations being more... legally pressing, shall we say) -- but, on the other hand, augh, it pains me greatly every time I see that happen. Dagger to the heart, man.

But, so it goes.

I considered it a privilege to appear alongside Walter on the radio, and his perspective on local matters will be greatly missed, but I'm quite sure he'll do just fine for himself in his post-blogosphere ventures; whatever he's up to, I wish him the best.

Well, after that cheery opening topic, there's nowhere to go but up, right?

[wdvalgardson's kaffihus: Tom Oleson, writer, reporter, columnist]
...oh. Wow, geez.

Winnipeg Free Press columnist Tom Oleson died on Thursday morning at the age of sixty-six; over his forty-four years with one employer (as unthinkable as that is in modern times) he wrote a lot of columns that a lot of people disagreed with, very likely writing them because a lot of people would disagree with them, but always striving to do so thoughtfully and artfully enough to expand his readers' examinations of the ideas and issues therein. His archives going back to last October remain on the Free Press site, at least for now, so have a look at them sooner rather than later; there's no guarantee how long they'll be up. Impermanence is starting to become something of a theme in tonight's post, I'm noticing.

[Stumbling [a]Bordeaux: Urban Parks (and Part Two)]
[Urbicolous: If you open an RFP, developers will come]
Folks around here are still trying to wrap their heads around the Mayor's green space comments from last week, because seriously. Tossing one of the City's few real attractions under the bus for having "hardly any green space", especially when that site's almost meticulously kept green space is of better quality and higher abundance than most anywhere else downtown? C'mon, man. Explain to me how that kind of talk was supposed to be helpful.

The whole affair soon led to Patrick at Stumbling [a]Bordeaux considering the viability and appeal of urban parks, then theorizing on how additional parkland could potentially help Winnipeg's forever-beleaguered downtown. Allow me to borrow a couple of pictures from his posts, if I may. Here is a map of the downtown and some of its surrounding areas, with greenspace marked in white:

And would it be possible to establish a fancy landmark park, an equivalently world-class "Central Park for the Forks", within the boundaries of Parcel Four? Well, as it turns out, no, it doesn't quite fit:

I mean, close, yes, sure. Heck, you can barely tell the difference between the two pictures! But I regret to say it isn't in the cards, at least not if we would want to do it properly.

Getting more to the meat of the discussion linked above -- I agree, and I disagree, with Patrick's pair of posts. The conversion of downtown's larger parking surfaces into park land would do wonders for the area's reputation and liveability, also benefiting the overall property values of the existing spaces near them. That's good! That'd be pretty good. But if the Forks has more green space than the rest of downtown already, and people currently avoid living in the rest of downtown because it seems like such a grey concrete wasteland, my choice in the matter wouldn't be to focus on putting the new green space at the Forks. Not that there's any one right answer on where to add additional park land, of course -- I certainly wouldn't complain if his proposal as expressed were to come true -- but with Winnipeg's current zero-sum either-or super-mega-bankrupt financial outlook, if the choice came down to one bigger and greener Forks or several smaller new parks, I'd hope to pursue the latter. Replicating the scale of New York's successful Central Park is way beyond our grasp, but replicating the scale of Winnipeg's successful Central Park? Heck, it worked the first time we did it, let's see how many more times we can pull it off.

(This parking lot conversion, for example, would be worth a shot.)

And what to is to be done with Parcel Four, then, if not the course of action laid out by the Mayor's most recent cockamamie snap judgment on it? That, perhaps, should be for the RFPs to determine. I've previously advocated that the City should just leave the damn thing alone for the next administration to decide, since the current administration can't properly address or handle the file, but it would seem that's too much to ask. Well, more on this file as it inevitably crawls into the light, I suppose.

On to cheerier matters!

[Monday Molly Musings: #MLC12 in Photos]
[Metro Winnipeg: A click away from renewing, borrowing at Winnipeg’s libraries]
[Winnipeg Sun: Shaw to hook up library WiFi]
Some vitally important professional obligations prevented me from being able to attend this year's Manitoba Libraries Conference, alas; its website promises that "Speaker presentations will be made available here soon", so I'll link to those in a future post, but you and I can gleam the idea of it from the leading link above. And here's the hashtag, too, if you might like to picture the event in reverse chronological sequence.

Also forthcoming soon is a WPL smartphone app, which appears to offer all the amenities you would expect and is going to be mad helpful if I ever suck it up and go get a smartphone. Yes, yes, I know: now that I'm gainfully employed again, and as an information professional at that, it would probably make sense to catch up to 2007 with the rest of you folks. But I only just recently paid out the money to get one of those sad little outdated pay-as-you-go phones, having figured at the time that it was better than having absolutely nothing and dying out on the highway somewhere. So... we'll see how long it takes me to get over having done that.

And, coming very soon, the Winnipeg Public Library system will be switching its wireless internet service from MTS to Shaw! Then, being the Winnipeg Public Library, it will switch back from Shaw to MTS again six months later when the introductory deal runs out.

[The Cranky Beer Blogger: Unibroue in Manitoba]
[The Brew Master (Uptown Magazine): Manitobans like their beer...]
[The Brew Master (Uptown Magazine): Best beer blogs]
Apparently inspired by my previous determination to append La Fin du Monde as #21 on his two top tens, Brandon beer authority Cody has drawn up a definitive dossier on the Unibroue selections currently (and formerly!) available across the province. It should prove useful to any and all Manitobans who aim higher than drinking Coors Light Iced T -- I have yet to encounter anybody who has tried that product and not thought it's trash, just incidentally -- and I feel strangely honoured that my unsolicited kibitzing played some small part in its eventual creation.

Should more liquor-related local reading happen to tickle your fancy, Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson has recently put forth a second(!) roundup of quality Manitoba beer bloggers; both of those columns are available above.

[Anybody Want a Peanut?: Around This Town]
There are a few other things in the local scene that I didn't get to in tonight's post, and it's always nice to have an alternate perspective on some of the things that I did get to, so I advise you to check in with cherenkov (that's actually a pretty solid slogan, now that I think about--what am I doing, focus) and catch up on the happenings in his most recent post.

And that concludes tonight's experiment! Yes, that ought to do it for this week's super-sized episode of ManLinkWeek; the next installment will most likely return to its traditional format, or as traditional as something can claim to be eight months in. I'll see you then, true believers -- if not sooner!


bwalzer said...

Anyone know why we have to contract out the maintenance of some Wi-Fi access points for the libraries? Doesn't Winnipeg have any IT people?

Winnipeg Girl said...

"And, coming very soon, the Winnipeg Public Library system will be switching its wireless internet service from MTS to Shaw! Then, being the Winnipeg Public Library, it will switch back from Shaw to MTS again six months later when the introductory deal runs out."

That sir, made my day.

One Man Committee said...

I just have to pass along my thanks, belated as they may be, for the kind words!