A sorry case of the city bargaining in bad faith


In the big picture, it’s chump change – $254, which is a miniscule amount to have to go to battle with the city.
But to a tiny sports organization like St. Thomas Thunder Ringette, a couple of hundred bucks is a big deal.
That’s the total of the cleaning bill they faced after their equipment, housed in a storage room in the Timken Centre, turned into a moldy mess over the summer thanks to serious humidity/condensation problems in the eight-year-old facility.
Thunder president Dwayne Foshay felt his organization was fully justified in handing over the cleaning bill to the city.
In a letter to Mayor Heather Jackson, Foshay stressed “We weren’t notified of any water/ condensation issues from the arena staff, but plans were put in place by the same staff to open locker room doors and add fans in the halls for the arena areas that they would look after to deal with the issue.”
Foshay has photos of attempts made by city staff to eliminate, or at least minimize, moisture damage.

Yes, the organization signed a contract with the city for storage rental but, as Foshay points out, “none of the concerns of disclosing the issue to the association at time of contract signing was addressed by anyone at any time as far as I can tell.”
So, the city is happy to take the Thunder’s money, but is loathe to disclose it’s renting damaged goods.
“I know there was a “contract” if we want to call it that, but there is the right of disclosing this information as well,” Foshay correctly points out.
After all, hockey clubs who store their equipment at the Timken Centre were apprised of the situation.
“This is the responsible thing to do. And knowing this information . . . and to not support a local nonprofit youth organization in this manner, after it was agreed that the city knew about the problem, and didn’t say anything, seems very unsupportive & irresponsible.”
No Dwayne, it’s a shameful case of bargaining in bad faith on the part of the city.
And there are members of council who – by voting against a motion to pay the tab – are complicit in this sleazy piece of work.
We understand it will cost in the neighbourhood of $200,000 to stabilize the environment inside the Timken Centre.
And still, the city tosses back the $254 cleaning bill and tells the Thunder to bugger off.

Four days into his walk and Jason McComb is hurting in every imaginable nook and cranny of his already frail body . . . and he couldn’t be happier.

Jason McComb departs St. Thomas city hall shortly after 8:30 on Nov. 12, 2013.

Jason McComb departs St. Thomas city hall shortly after 8:30 on Nov. 12, 2013.

This morning (Saturday) he is heading out from Paris en route to Cambridge and then further down the pike to Kitchener.
He admits he is behind schedule already, however not because of a lack of energy or enthusiasm.
Jason is overwhelmed by the welcome that awaited him in Woodstock and Paris and that is what has detained the homeless advocate.
He was approached by the Salvation Army in Paris to spend a day in that community to assist with their efforts and appear at a couple of events.
I definitely am still going to Ottawa but it might be summer before I get there at this rate, Jason laughed.
The body may be racked with pain but the spirit is stronger than ever.

It was one short reference last week in our story outlining Jason McComb’s walk to Ottawa but it sparked an impassioned exchange of emails that escalated into a lengthy phone call.
A city parks employee took umbrage with my comment, “Not only is he (Jason) an outspoken advocate for the homeless, he has taken it upon himself to patrol the downtown core in his solitary litter crusade – an undertaking that has put to shame the efforts of this city’s parks staff.”
After considerable time educating me on the work flow with parks staff, this employee closed off with the following observation.
“I am hoping that after providing you with some information on our department that the next time you are concerned with the amount of litter downtown you will point the finger at the litterers themselves. They should be shamed upon, not the parks department who is trying our best to provide the public with beautiful green spaces to enjoy with their friends and families.”
We closed out the exchange with my acceptance of her offer – subject to management approval – to spend part of a work day with staff to get a sense of life from their vantage point.
You’ll read more on this challenge in the coming weeks.

“I am wiped out and in pain, but man I tell you if it didn’t hurt and fatigue wasn’t hindering me with such intensity, I would not be putting in enough effort and this would not be a mission.”
Homeless advocate Jason McComb texting from Paris, Ont., late Thursday on Day 3 of his walk to Ottawa.
City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to ian.mccallum@sunmedia.ca.

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