Promoting healthy lifestyle choices for St. Thomas


She’s a master’s student of local economic development and a former resident of St. Thomas who has issued a challenge to the city to embrace alternative modes of transportation.

Tara Smedbol, now a London resident, contacted us recently with two simple ways in which St. Thomas can increase its livability for residents. The first focuses on developing cycling infrastructure and the other is to increase transit options.

This is not a matter of recreational infrastructure, Smedbol asserts, but instead it would increase the options and abilities for residents to be mobile and connected to the city.

“The key to a vibrant city with a vibrant downtown,” she points out, “is activity and movement of people.” She continues: “One tactic to increase activity on the streets is by encouraging walking and bicycling in the downtown core and other areas of the city.

“It is self-explanatory that as someone drives a car less (maybe even giving up a car in favour of other modes of transportation, if they are able to change their commuting patterns) and thus decrease the costs directly associated to owning a car, they increase their disposable income.”
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It’s full steam ahead in spite of railway museum audit


Disturbing news emanating this week from the Elgin County Railway Museum hinting at possible financial irregularities.

We’re hearing of the treasurer either being dismissed or asked to step down; a new treasurer brought in; speculation about an upper level government funding application and HST submissions.

A call to museum executive director Michael Adams resulted in this official statement from the executive committee.

“It has come to our attention that recent financial statements presented were neither audited or reviewed. The audit report attached to the statements were not issued or authorized by the accounting firm involved in the preparation and review of those statements.

“The person involved with the creation and delivery of the subject audit report is no longer associated with the Elgin County Railway Museum Inc. Arrangements have been made for proper audits to be conducted for financial years 2010 and 2011.”

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Will Drummond Report impact STEGH redevelopment?


A jam-packed City Scope agenda this week, so let’s get right to it.

If you’re not familiar with the name, the buzz next week will be the release of the Drummond Report on Wednesday.

To set the scene, the Dalton McGuinty government hired former TD Bank economist Don Drummond to review all government programs and services to allow for extensive paring of the province’s $16 billion deficit.

Expect some radical chopping, including a proposal to deep six all-day kindergarten.

The alarm is also being sounded for the well-being of the health care system in Ontario.

Is spending out of control or is the province manufacturing a crisis to justify cuts down the road?
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Of camels and rich men and costly back-tracking


The cost of the proposed new police headquarters has nearly doubled over the past eight years because
of the feet dragging of successive councils.

Dithering being perpetuated by some aldermen who, as a result, are directly hitting ratepayers where it hurts most — the pocket.

In 2003, a building condition assessment and space needs assessment study of the justice building was undertaken by the Stonewall Group.

Its recommendation: “the principal strategy to meet the long-term accommodation needs of the St. Thomas Police Service would be best served by building a totally new facility.”

Estimated cost, $10.5 million.
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