This is not how you thank a great Timken Centre tenant

If he believes in reincarnation, then surely Ald. Bill Aarts will come back to life as a dragster . . . his flame-out Monday at city council is the envy of nitro-burning funny cars everywhere.

Did he and Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands actually believe they could convince at least two other members of St. Thomas council to commit political hari-kari in front of a large contingent of minor hockey supporters and a live television audience?

Having sat through an appreciative deputation from St. Thomas Minor Hockey thanking council for naming the main rink at the Timken Centre in recognition of their efforts, did the above pair think for even one second any one of their cohorts would turn their back on the largest tenant in the complex and lend their support to naming the main ice pad in honour of Bob McCaig and/or Green Lane Community Trust Fund?

And, make no mistake, neither one of these short-sighted aldermen can claim credit as the brain trust behind what is nothing short of an attempt at political payback.

That credit goes to a behind-the-scenes aldermanic candidate.

Their justification for such action was flimsier than a roof of straw and the sight of Baldwin-Sands abandoning Aarts on the final vote illustrates the depth of her convictions.

Her attempt to sell out the naming rights from under minor hockey by deferring the motion a second time won’t be forgotten when it comes time to cast ballots in the fall.

As for Aarts, the bus for Southwold is leaving on platform 3.


Faithful readers have taken up the City Scope challenge to send in questions they would like answered by candidates in the upcoming municipal election.

And, a pair of St. Thomas aldermanic candidates have already attended to the queries submitted last week by Ann Bigelow.

Council hopeful Wayne Northcott says he is opposed to a CAO at city hall.

“The present system of municipal governance in St. Thomas has many advantages and is my preferred choice. Re-creating the position of CAO would not be cost effective, nor would it create better governance. Having a board of management system creates more accountability from the aldermen and keeps them well abreast of the issues within their committees.”

As to the issue of a ward system, Ald. David Warden turns thumbs down on that proposal, which he predicts will create “pocket politics, in-house fighting for tax dollars and alderman become more concerned with their own ward, rather than the overall well being of the city.”

Full answers from both individuals can be found here

It’s never too late for readers and candidates to participate.

This week’s questions come from Nancy Mayberry and deal with the city’s heritage.

1) Do you think there is adequate protection for built heritage in St. Thomas? Do you think the balance is tilted to protection or destruction of heritage buildings?

2) How will you balance development pressures against the need to preserve our history, particularly its archaeological and heritage structures? Would you encourage the adaptive reuse of our heritage schools and their playgrounds or sell them to developers as was done with the railway lands and the CASO Trans-Canada trail through the city?

3) Do you think the city’s built and natural heritage features are adequately identified, and adequately protected? If not, what do you think should be done to improve the situation?

4) Would you change how heritage in St. Thomas is protected? If so, how?

5) What do you think is the single most important action municipal government could undertake to encourage heritage preservation in St. Thomas?

You have to admit we don’t have a great track record over the past two councils. Let’s have some answers.


Ald. Aarts made it clear at Monday’s meeting he has issues with city ratepayers subsidizing minor hockey at the Timken Centre.

If memory serves, the twin-pad facility was constructed in the first place because of a need to accommodate youth hockey in St. Thomas.

Yet, Ald. Aarts doesn’t seemed concerned those same ratepayers subsidize his old-timer hockey twice a week during the shinny season. Better yet, we’re all subsidizing his trip to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference taking place in Windsor, even though he has turned his back on St. Thomas council in favour of a run at Southwold mayor in the October municipal vote.

So, what possible benefit will this afford residents of St. Thomas?

This is one council perk that needs serious re-consideration.


“There could be someone out there with as big a heart as the hockey association that could step forward.”

Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands obviously doesn’t believe in the old adage, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, as she and Ald. Bill Aarts failed in their attempt to derail a motion Monday to honour St. Thomas Minor Hockey by naming the main rink at the Timken Centre after the youth organization that has contributed so greatly to the facility since its opening,

City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to:

One thought on “This is not how you thank a great Timken Centre tenant

  1. Ian:
    I enjoy your column. You’re a real pot stirrer and our citizenry needs it badly; you should be given more space – I suggest Wednesdays. If you aim to eventually ferret out the truth it will be even more enlightening. It is in this vein that I write to comment on Friday’s column.
    I support naming the Rink after the Minor Hockey Youth of St. Thomas/Elgin. After all why did we build the arena in the first place? What I do question is the idea that has been floated about by City officials that our firm received a tax receipt from the City of St. Thomas for our donation of in excess of $7 million towards the project made up of $1.4 in property value and the balance in cleanup costs. You might want to ask Treasurer Bill Day to provide a copy of the so-called tax receipt so you could print it in the paper – a photo copy should suffice. I’ll even pay for the space. PS – While you’re at City Hall get one for me too! Despite the fact that the deal was promised to have included a tax receipt from the City of St. Thomas in return for the donation; none was ever forthcoming.
    Bob McCaig
    PS – Don’t be fooled by the red herring issue of the $150,000 donation from the Green Lane Trust.
    That was an entirely different and separate matter for which the Trust, I understand, has been appropriately acknowledged.


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