ST. THOMAS, ONTARIO and ELGIN, ONTARIO– Feb. 26, 2010) – Today, front line Children’s Aid workers will ask local MPP Steve Peters to come to the aid of vulnerable children and families by pressing the government to fix a faulty funding formula that has kept Children’s Aid Societies (CASs) in a funding crisis for years.
“In 2006, the government legislated CASs to do much more to improve safety and better outcomes for children and families, but has not kept up its side of the equation with adequate funding,” says Marcia Andkilde, Unit Chair of CUPE 841.5, representing front line workers at the St. Thomas and Elgin Children’s Aid Society. “We’re calling on our MPP to step up and advocate for long-term provincial funding in the coming provincial budget to sustain child welfare programs in our community.”
In the midst of the Christmas hustle and bustle, St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital announced it was shutting 20 transitional beds in Unit B of the Continuing Care Centre.
The beds weren’t needed, layoffs would be minimal and the process would be completed some time In February. One option, noted CEO Paul Collins, was to move acute medical units from the fourth and fifth floors into Unit B and the already-vacated Unit A.
A funny thing happened along the way, however.
The alternative level care patients were out of the beds in the CCC unit the first week of January, in advance of two reports dealing with the proposed relocation of the acute medical units.
Why the rush to displace these patients?
A proposal to put 700 wind turbines along the shores of Lakes St. Clair and Erie, each about as tall as a 40-story building, is provoking controversy in Canada and the U.S.
The turbines, planted on the lake bottom and arranged in grids jutting more than 3 miles out into the lakes, easily would be seen from the marinas and mansions of the Grosse Pointes, as well as from Rockwood, Gibraltar and Grosse Ile.
Some residents on both sides of the border are worried about how the windmills would affect shoreline property values, fishing, boating and bird migration. The turbines would be on major migratory pathways for birds at several major wildlife refuges, including Point Pelee, Ontario, and the Detroit International Wildlife Refuge.
An ambitious proposal to beautify the downtown streetscape is a winner in all regards, with one notable exception.
The expected price tag of close to $9 million will likely ensure this vision will shine no further than the bookshelf where so many other studies and reports reside.
The twin roadblocks of the city’s ever-burgeoning debt load and that queasy feeling associated with selling this to constituents in an election year are formidable obstacles to conquer.
Right plan, wrong time.
Shelling out millions for trees, flowers and upgrades to infrastructure to ensure Christmas lights twinkle along Talbot is a tough sell when St. Thomas is treading to stay afloat economically.
Seven hundred offshore wind turbines are being proposed for Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair including 165 turbines north of Lakeshore and wind farms off Amherstburg, Colchester, Kingsville and Leamington.
SouthPoint Wind of Leamington had already proposed 15 turbines in three spots off the shores of Kingsville and Leamington. If SouthPoint gets approval for that project, it is proposing a 1,400 megawatt project with 13 wind farms: three in Lake St. Clair and the rest south of Essex County and Chatham-Kent in Lake Erie. Each wind farm could have 55 turbines and could be one to 2.5 kilometres from shore.
“Why should we be the guinea pigs?” Leamington Deputy Mayor Rob Schmidt said Wednesday.
If it could be the first offshore wind farm anywhere in fresh water, there should be more research done, Schmidt said.
There are offshore wind farms proposed on the Great Lakes including Lake Ontario but none approved or constructed in the province.
The sound floats on the winds of Ka Le, this southernmost tip of Hawaii’s Big Island, where Polynesian colonists first landed some 1,500 years ago.
Some say that Ka Le is haunted — and it is. But it’s haunted not by Hawaii’s legendary night marchers. The mysterious sounds are “Na leo o Kamaoa”– the disembodied voices of 37 skeletal wind turbines abandoned to rust on the hundred-acre site of the former Kamaoa Wind Farm.
The voices of Kamaoa cry out their warning as a new batch of colonists, having looted the taxpayers of Spain, Portugal, and Greece, seeks to expand upon their multi-billion-dollar foothold half a world away on the shores of the distant Potomac River. European wind developers are fleeing the EU’s expiring wind subsidies, shuttering factories, laying off workers, and leaving billions of Euros of sovereign debt and a continent-wide financial crisis in their wake. But their game is not over. Already they are tapping a new vein of lucre from the taxpayers and ratepayers of the United States.
Industrial wind technology is old technology. Windmills probably reached the peak of any industrial efficiency many decades ago when they ground the grains from harvested crops to increase the supply of flour. To pretend they can produce any viable alternate source of energy in the 21st century is something the wind energy lobby has never even attempted to substantiate.
What is not in doubt is, regardless of the billions governments are planning to spend on wind power and the thousands, if not millions of wind turbines it will mean, wind energy can only exist totally dependent on all the current energy sources — fossil fuels, bio fuels, nuclear fuels — being there to produce the overwhelming percentage, probably in excess of 90%, of the energy the world still demands.
In January of this year, the Central Elgin Ratepayers Association (CERA), filed a complaint with closed-session investigator John Maddox following a telephone conversation between Acting Mayor Tom Marks, and association secretary-treasurer Terry Campbell.
Maddox has been retained by Central Elgin, St. Thomas and Elgin county to probe complaints by anyone who believes council has sequestered itself for reasons beyond those legally prescribed under the Ontario Municipal Act.
Maddox released his summary this morning (Feb. 13) and you can read it Closed Door Meeting here
Here is the backgrounder from the Times-Journal that promted the investigation …
The issue started at the beginning of the month when CERA submitted a list of questions to Central Elgin — something Campbell said they do on a monthly basis.
“We thought it would be more efficient for us to question the municipalities on various issues through the organization,” he explained.
Barb Gammon is seeing red these days and the St. Thomas resident is taking direct aim at city staff and members of council, in particular Ald. Terry Shackelton.
Her anger prompted a letter to the T-J to focus in on a highly questionable sighting earlier this month at the Timken Centre.
Barb writes, “When the weather gets cold, I will walk around the track at the Timken Centre. Last week as I made my rounds, I discovered a new sign at the end of the arena where the ice machine goes on and off of the ice pad.
“To my surprise the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) had been placed on a part of railing that the city was now calling accessible with an alderman’s name (Shackelton) next to the sign. This part of the railing is not accessible for wheelchairs to watch any part of the ice pad.”