A little dash of former mayor and the barbie is now sizzling


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.


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.


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?


“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: mccallum@stthomastimesjournal.com.

One thought on “A little dash of former mayor and the barbie is now sizzling

  1. Progressive by nature is an excellent slogan for Elgin County, however St. Thomas is by no means progressive. The problem in St. Thomas is that we (term includes myself embarrassingly) are stuck in a time warp. Our politicians seem utterly confused and not willing to act for the most part or act to quickly to realize they are wrong. Case in point; not purchasing the land that the Trans Canada Trail uses as it comes through St. Thomas. Now the trail goes from coast to coast but cannot carry on through St. Thomas because of short sighted ignorance by our politicians. Maybe its for the best to take a detour around St. Thomas because who really wants to come to St. Thomas. St. Thomas is now going to be known for a dilapidated elephant (what a joke), the place in Canada where the Trans Canada Trail ends, a crumbling downtown, a decaying infrastructure and for its brain drain. Try not to forget about our neighborhood community garden members, who are the real villains who should all be thrown in jail and tried for treason. (Sarcasm) All of these problems taking place in the last 12 months. St. Thomas and Elgin County has a number of very good high schools who graduate a large number of students who go on to various Universities and Colleges across the country. The emphasis is on going or leaving, very few of them ever come back because there is nothing here for them. We are constantly losing our best and brightest. That is not to say that some students do not come back, because they do, and they get trapped in factories who are closing, making unrealistic wages, with little or no interest in the community or the greater good. The lack of people coming back from University to live in St. Thomas as permanent residents allows for the status quo to continue. The incestual old boys club gets reelected over and over by the senior citizens of St. Thomas who would reelect John Diefenbaker if they could. St. Thomas is stuck in a quagmire, stagnant and rotting. The saying “the times are changing” is cliche, however times have changed and we have been left behind. A lack of leadership in this city will continue to destroy this city. The youth and the intellectuals of St. Thomas need to stand up and be heard, St. Thomas needs to join the 20th Century now that it’s the 21st Century, vote for change, and allow these fossils, also known as what St. Thomas calls politicians to be put in a museum.


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