Some members of council could find themselves collared Monday as a deputation promoting an off-leash dog park for the city states their case for having St. Thomas join the growing list of communities with designated areas for owners and their pets..
Such a facility has been bandied about for years and the issue has ostensibly been parked due to insurance concerns.
A recent conversation with treasurer Bill Day confirmed legal liability is a legitimate concern, however that hasn’t curbed the more than three dozen municipalities in the province which have off-leash facilities, including three in London.
In fact, nearby Woodstock is on that list and if we’re not mistaken that jurisdiction employs the same insurer as does St. Thomas.
“For many years, residents of St. Thomas have expressed a desire to have this facility,” notes Wendy Knelsen of the St. Thomas Dog Park Committee.
“The tax-paying, voting dog guardians who chose to play with their dogs off-leash deserve to finally have their slice of the recreational pie in our community.”
A very valid consideration and the noted insurance concerns surely must apply to those who enjoy recreational activities at other city facilities.
It would behoove our elected representatives who have expressed concerns or doubts about such a leash-free park area to visit the set-up in London’s Springbank Park to fully appreciate the positive benefits to the community.
A location in Pinafore Park has been potentially ear-marked, the start-up expense is not prohibitive (perhaps $25,000 as a ballpark figure), so is the real stumbling block lack of will or vision at city hall?
If we truly wish to promote St. Thomas as a great community in which to live and work, alternative social/recreational facilities like a leash-free dog park must be part of the mix.
If you would like to add your name to the growing list of supporters, visit http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/elgindogpark/index.html.
MIND THE GAP
One of the unique, if overlooked, features of the downtown corridor is the strip of salmon-coloured interlocked paving along Talbot Street that separates the curb from the main sidewalk area.
The reason for this distinctive covering, as we understand it, is to allow for easier access to underground utilities without tearing up the asphalt walkway.
Over time, as is the case with household patios, some of the bricks have begun to settle making for an uneven and potentially dangerous surface.
Ideally, the city would remove the offending bricks, level off the base and re-lay the area … a great project for summer students.
Instead, the bricks have been removed and the gap created is filled with cold mix, the same filler used to patch up the legion of pot holes that have turned our roads into minefields.
The result is a patchwork quilt effect not unlike the black gaps revealed in the grins of hockey players.
Seems the city’s liberal use of cold mix as a problem-solver rivals the average Canadian’s creative use of duct tape to overcome any shortcoming.
NOW WE CAN TALK
Last week’s observations on the purchase by St. Thomas Holdings Inc. of a small, Belleville, Ont., engineering and electricity contractor energized the powers-to-be at the city utility; resulting in a phone call Tuesday from Michelle Floyd of On Communications.
That’s the London, Ont., firm working with St. Thomas Holdings as it expands its horizons and she confirmed CEO Brian Hollywood would embrace the opportunity to meet with this corner for a frank dialogue on the past, present and future of St. Thomas Energy Services Inc. The interview took place yesterday and the full discussion will occupy this space next week. We can tell you areas of discussion included a strategic plan for St. Thomas Holdings Inc., financing the recent acquisitions and the impact on the bottom line with the purchase of Tal Trees and Tiltran/Lizco, based in Tillsonburg, Ont. Hollywood loves to shoot from the hip and weaved through his comments runs a common thread – accountability.
A MUCH NEEDED INVESTMENT
Friday morning’s announcement of a $5 million expansion at St. Joe’s is welcome news for St. Thomas in a year that has delivered precious little in the way of encouragement.
And, it’s worth nothing, the investment isn’t predicated on the closure of other city schools, as has been the case in the recent past.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“This community does need a good story. And this is a good story. It’s an evolving story. And when people see the final painting, and they may not appreciate the art for another 10 years, but when they do, this municipality will be the beneficiary.
Brian Hollywood, St. Thomas Energy Services president and CEO, in a conversation with City Scope dealing with recent acquisitions made by the utility and the positive benefits that will accrue to the shareholders. The interview will be printed next week in this corner.
City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to: mccallum@ stthomastimesjournal.com.