London developer Shmuel Farhi’s accounts of the events leading up to a tentative deal with Farhi for property at the west end of Talbot Street to be the new home of Elgin St. Thomas Public Health as taken from an April 19, 2012 email to Ald. David Warden and Mayor Heather Jackson, with copies to Ald. Gord Campbell and Ald. Tom Johnston. This follows April 28,2012 discussion in City Scope which you can read here. The email is entitled Without Prejudice . . .
I am very pleased we finally had the opportunity to talk at length yesterday about the history of the Health Unit’s search for a new building.
As I told you, I met with Paul Smith, Cynthia St. John, Amy Dale and others in my office in the early fall of 2009 and we received “verbal agreement” on a design/build/lease package.
On November 5, 2009, Cynthia sent an email that included the following: “I am pleased to report that Amy will be in touch with you and Colleen to finalize the offer to lease. The board did have some specific questions about materials used in the design and such but nothing that will hold us up. Once Amy, Colleen and I have finalized the offer to lease, I have direction from my board to sign it so we are moving ahead which is great news. Thank you for your patience and availability over the last while to finalize this deal.” (Emphasis mine.)
On November 5, 2009, Kim Eitel of the Health Unit emailed the following to me: “Amy Dale will be in touch with your office Friday or Monday to finalize the “offer to lease”.” (Emphasis mine.)
Well, that didn’t take long. We hinted in this corner last week debate on a new home for Elgin St. Thomas Public Health was likely to heat up in the near future, however we didn’t expect matters to flare up in such threatening fashion over the course of seven days.
To recap, the health unit board of directors has indicated a move is in store from their current home at 99 Edward St., to a yet-to-be-determined two-acre site.
That new home will not be located on property owned by London developer Shmuel Farhi at the west end of St. Thomas on Talbot Street.
Farhi thought he had a deal with the board of directors and health unit CEO Cynthia St. John in 2009 for a 30,000 sq. ft., purpose-built structure on a long-term lease.
Watch for the matter of a new home for Elgin St. Thomas Public Health to heat up dramatically in the coming days.
The health unit has been out of the public spotlight of late and that’s not a bad thing after the drama and controversy that dogged the previous board of directors.
The new board, including Elgin Warden Bill Walters and St. Thomas Ald. Dave Warden, has got the organization focused on moving forward.
However, will it withstand the fallout from a forthcoming announcement on a move from its current digs at 99 Edward St. to a two-acre site that is not the west Talbot Street property owned by Shmuel Farhi?
Re-scope is a word that was totally alien to the average vocabulary prior to delivery of the provincial budget at the end of March.
In the days afterward, the administration at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital, our elected representatives and area residents puzzled over the implications of re-scoping on the hospital’s redevelopment plans.
Well, puzzle no longer.
This corner has determined the definition of re-scope as follows: the massive slashing of funding for a project promised just weeks before an election when the electorate doesn’t deliver.
And we mean ruthless cutting and hacking.
The Oopsie of the Week award winner is no contest as Ald. Sam Yusuf’s decision to forward a personal email from the executive-director of the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital Foundation on to all members of council proved to be somewhat embarrassing, especially to its author, Allan Weatherall.
While Weatherall asserts, after the fact, there was no ill intent in his correspondence to Yusuf, the Times-Journal has obtained a copy of the email and it definitely has a sucker-punch quality to it.
He is miffed the city will not put aside hospital funding in the 2012 city budget.
“That is not forward thinking at all as the hospital will in some form, in some way need rebuilding. So why does the city not set some money aside to be ready for a time when it will be required? That is true community leadership and forward thinking, being proactive and not reactive.”