Accessibility barriers result in feeling of isolation


Prior to the Oct. 25 municipal vote, City Scope teamed up with accessibility advocate Ed McLachlan to expose members of council and aldermanic candidates to the frustrations encountered by city residents dealing with accessibility issues in their daily routine.

Bill Sandison, Wayne Northcott, Linda Stevenson, Rose Gibson, Joan Rymal, Ald. Dave Warden and Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands accepted our invitation to visit municipal facilities, including city hall, the police station, Emslie Field, Pinafore Park, the Timken Centre and St. Thomas-Elgin Ontario Works to discover first-hand the obstacles faced by residents wishing to enjoy events at those venues or undertake business with staff.

Whether seated in a wheelchair or peering through vision-impairing glasses, the participants were profoundly impacted.
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Good luck, good night and goodbye . . . Barwick bows out


The forty-fourth meeting of the one hundred and thirtieth council of the Corporation of the City of St. Thomas proved the last hurrah for out-going mayor Cliff Barwick.

Love him or leave him, Barwick had a way with words and could contort his face in a particular fashion to drive home a point or simply defuse a tense situation.

That’s a gift that comes from 23 years of service in an elected capacity.

In a night of tributes and remembrance, Ald. Gord Campbell perhaps summed it best, “We come to chamber as new recruits. We come to do what is right for the citizens of St. Thomas.”

Sage words of advice to be heeded long after Dec. 6, when the in-coming council is installed.
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For the sake of employees, health unit board of directors should deal in facts

Forget the showmanship by the trio of Elgin St. Thomas Public Health board members that dominated Monday’s council meeting.

Instead, let’s cut to the chase and deal with facts.

The health unit was the subject of a visit by the Ministry of Labour on Oct. 18, 2010 to investigate a complaint regarding harassment at 99 Edward St.

The Industrial Health and Safety Program officer in charge of dealing with the situation is Beth Nethercott, based out of London.
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ST. THOMAS—Steve Peters, MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, issued the following statement today with respect to his political future:

“After twenty-two years of elected service at the local and provincial level on behalf of the people of St. Thomas and the broader community of Elgin-Middlesex-London, I have decided that it is time for a change in career when my current term in office expires. Accordingly, I have informed the local riding association President and the Premier that I will not be seeking re-election next fall.

I take this decision with great anticipation about life after politics but an even greater sense of gratitude to the people in this community. It has been a tremendous privilege to work on their behalf for more than two decades. To serve as Alderman, Mayor, MPP, Minister of Agriculture and Food, Minister of Labour and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. But I have always relied on my instincts to guide me. Those instincts tell me that now is the right time for me, personally, to make a change.
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Exposing the Inner Workings of the Contraband Tobacco Industry

C-Stores Association Visits St. Thomas to Expose
the Inner Workings of the Contraband Tobacco Industry in Ontario

Close to 350 smoke shacks in Ontario and Quebec are making it virtually impossible for legitimate convenience store retailers to compete in the sale of tobacco products. Every other day, an Ontario convenience store closes its doors.

The Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) is “raising the roof” on smoke shacks by inviting media to the St. Thomas stop of a 25-city Ontario tour aimed at educating the public about the inner workings of the contraband tobacco industry and the huge economic and social implications that illicit tobacco has on both Native and non-native communities.
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Curbing debate now prescribed for health unit meetings?


It was quite the mugging this week over at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health. Attempts by Central Elgin Mayor Tom Marks to raise uncomfortable questions at Wednesday’s board meeting were hijacked at the pass by the city contingent on the seven-member board.

Although Marks didn’t follow the prescribed protocol for new business, silencing a fellow board member seeking answers to the same questions asked numerous times in this corner illustrates the depths to which the health unit has sunk.

So, to what exactly was Marks seeking clarification?
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Heritage legislation means nothing if local politicians not on side

Posted by Ian:

Built heritage wasn’t even on the radar at the onset of the Oct 25 municipal election campaign in St. Thomas. Certainly not a lot of candidate literature went into any detail on preserving the city’s heritage and it was a non-starter in the Chamber of Commerce member survey found here.

By the final weekend of the campaign, with full revelation of the $3 million lawsuit filed against the city, Mayor Cliff Barwick and others by developer David McGee, details here, heritage may have proved to be a critical factor in the final outcome.

Here are thoughts taken from Acorn, the newsletter of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, including comments from president Lloyd Alter and two St. Thomas residents …
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