If you attended the Chamber of Commerce Business After 5 soiree Wednesday, you couldn’t miss council members and mayoral/aldermanic hopefuls working the crowd in grand fashion.
There’s no mistaking the 2010 municipal election campaign, like the backyard barbie, is starting to warm up nicely.
Marvelous how the dynamics have taken on a new intensity with Jeff Kohler’s announcement this week he is seeking a return to council as one of seven aldermen.
Let’s do a little gazing into the City Scope crystal ball.
The mayoral battle will really be a two-horse race between incumbent Cliff Barwick and newcomer Al Riddell (sorry Heather!).
For this to transpire, Mark Cosens will be encouraged to pass on his mayor’s bid and settle for an aldermanic role.
If all of this plays out and Barwick is dethroned, Kohler triumphantly returns and Cosens has a seat at the table, one city developer (with a passion for gardening) will breathe easier when the new council is installed.
After idling in neutral for many months (if not years), the city is finally getting its act in gear and re-routing some of its transit buses so they will stop adjacent to Wal-Mart.
The changes to Route 5a will take effect on Aug. 3, as outlined in a report coming to council on Monday.
Up until now, passengers wishing to shop at the various retail outlets had to walk several hundred yards from the transfer station in all kinds of weather.
Now, the only reason the city and Calloway Reit (St. Thomas) Inc., owners of the Talbot Street shopping complex, agreed to this change to the existing route is because the city was ordered to comply with a human rights compliance decision.
A shameful dragging of heels on the part of city managers.
However, this is not the final stop in the transit saga.
If full paratransit service is not restored (recently reduced from three buses to two), the city will again find itself facing a human rights tribunal.
All of this on the same night council will deal with its 2010 municipal accessibility plan.
It is to be hoped our municipal representatives and city managers have reviewed this document with great care.
NO GOLD STARS
The no-show numbers are notably climbing as council wends its way through the final year of a four-year mandate.
A report to be tabled Monday notes only Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands and Ald. Gord Campbell have attended all 29 meetings to date in 2010.
The trio of Heather Jackson-Chapman, Terry Shackelton and Dave Warden have come close to perfect attendance, having missed one meeting each.
Ald. Tom Johnstonwas absent for three meetings, although had his Red Wings gone further in the playoffs that number surely would have been higher.
Sharing the bottom of the table are Barwick and Ald. Bill Aarts , each missing five sessions. We know the mayor was off catching crawdads in China, as for Aarts, well, no doubt he’s re-discovering himself in Southwold.
A POPULAR WEBSITE
Last week in this space, we wondered why the agendas and minutes from Elgin St. Thomas Public Health board meetings have not been posted on the organization’s website since Jan. 6 of this year.
That prompted an apologetic email from a health unit staffer noting it was an oversight on her part.
And, CEO Cynthia St. John never noticed the six-month period of absence?
Board chairman, Ald. Aarts, and the rest of the directors did not pass along a heads-up to someone that these valuable elements of business were not being posted on a regular basis?
It’s obvious they are strangers to their own website.
One more point of contention for Ald. Warden to clarify at Monday’s council meeting — where is the direction coming from at 99 Edward St?
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“For me, it’s not a priority. Under the current council, I believe a CAO is probably needed.”
Jeff Kohler lets everyone know he’s back in the political spotlight by unleashing a jab at Mayor Cliff Barwick and members of council. After all, as you remember, things did run smooth as clockwork when he occupied the mayor’s seat.
“I’ve done the alderman bit for about seven years. I thought rather than moving up to St. Thomas mayor, I thought the opportunity would be there to run for Southwold, which is basically not like a full-time job.”
There’s no denying, Ald. Bill Aarts would have been a shoo-in to win the 2010 St. Thomas mayoral race.
City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.