Put aside the finger pointing for a moment, here’s what really came down the pipe in the aftermath of last week’s boil water advisory.
Neither the city nor Elgin St. Thomas Public Health can keep up with today’s lightning-fast social networking.
If you remember, it was Ald. Heather Jackson-Chapman first out of the gate late in the afternoon of Aug. 19 with her tweet advising all followers of the need to boil your drinking water.
This was fully two hours before the general advisory was made public on the city website. That’s because the city and the health unit have not bought into instant communications.
And yet, it was CEO Cynthia St. John who made the decision some time ago to hire London spin doctor John Matsui to upgrade the health unit’s Internet presence.
Laura McLachlin, director of health protection with the health unit, hit the target when she noted Thursday in a media release, “I think there is room for improvement and in any situation you always find something to improve.
“Certainly how we use this (social networking) tool that’s all around us, I think it’s an important tool for all of us to consider.”
The health unit, city staff and the water system clients (oh, how Central Elgin Mayor Tom Marks and Southwold Mayor Jim McIntyre detest that inference) will be meeting to review their protocol. Let us reiterate from last week in this corner — there is a decided weakness in how the partnership undertakes communication, both internally and to area residents.
COMMUNITY GARDEN UPDATE
There’s a fine crop sprouting up on Isabel Street, in what once was our communal garden.
And, we’re not talking veggies, as the accompanying photo will attest.
Mayor Cliff Barwick and Ald. Tom Johnston know where the hot spots are in town and have chosen the plot that has generated copious amounts of ink in the T-J to debut their election signs.
In a letter to the T-J earlier this week, aldermanic candidate Bill Sandison stressed the city needs to take advantage of federal funding for accessibility projects.
One such municipal project he suggested was an elevator to be installed in the Timken Centre.
That drew an immediate response from Ald. David Warden, chairman of the community services and recreation committee, who notes such an elevator has been in the twin-pad complex since opening day.
It’s wheelchair and scooter accessible, Warden reminds, and it was built to the existing building code in 2005.
Any upgrades to the elevator, if even possible, would prove costly.
WHICH REMINDS US . . .
Several weeks ago we announced the return of the City Scope challenge whereby we’re teaming up with accessibility advocate Ed McLachlan to expose members of council and mayoral/aldermanic candidates to the frustrations encountered by city residents dealing with accessibility issues in their daily routine.
To date only Sandison and Wayne Northcott have contacted us to educate themselves first hand. Is this lifestyle challenge such a low priority with the rest of the candidates who are seeking the confidence of all the city electorate?
To register, contact City Scope or Ed McLachlan at 519-631-7239.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We had all sorts of statements in the press inferring and implying about a Walkerton situation. Absolutely deplorable. They were ‘I’ statements. ‘I said this,’ and ‘I told the press this was Walkerton.’ They were all ‘I’ statements. They were irresponsible, inflammatory, impertinent and irrelevant.”
Was Mayor Cliff Barwick aiming his comments Monday at city hall squarely in the direction of mayoral candidate, Ald. Heather Jackson-Chapman, who beat everyone to the punch with her tweet alerting to the boil water advisory?
City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.