Not knowing the price is a good thing


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Don’t fall for this scam. Someone insists they know the true cost of a new police station and they’re willing to share the figure with you.
The information doesn’t exist and it never has. Oh, there have been estimates attached to various consultant reports, but they are nothing more than that — rough costing based on a conceptual plan that has no bearing on the final reality.
That was the message driven home Thursday at the initial meeting of the police building committee. A body whose mandate is to do just that — come up with a firm price based on a concrete design.
So, who sits on the committee?
It is chaired by Ald. David Warden and includes aldermen Mark Cosens and Tom Johnston, CAO Wendell Graves, treasurer Bill Day, director of engineering John Dewancker and St. Thomas Police Chief Darryl Pinnell.

As reinforced by several members, no firm estimate has ever been presented to city council.
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“As chairman, I’m no closer to knowing the cost of a new police building,” admitted Warden. “It is not fair when people throw numbers around. We have committed to a process to determine the cost of a police building.”
An encouraging outcome of the first meeting was this observation by Pinnell.
“We can now quantify the space we actually need. I think there are efficiencies to be gained.”
In other words, there are opportunities to button down the space needed and sharpen the pencil on the final tab.
As a sidelight, good to see aldermanic candidate Joan Rymal in attendance.
Wish we could say the same for finance committee chairman, Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands.
These meetings are open to the public and any resident seeking to get the true picture in the police HQ saga is welcome to attend.
The next get-together is 11 a.m. April 24 at city hall.
Find out for yourself what is involved, instead of relying on dodgy hearsay from political opportunists.

HAVE YOUR LAWYER CALL MY LAWYER

Seems Baldwin-Sands is keeping lawyers busy somewhere on a couple of fronts.
If you remember, earlier this month she fired off a Tweet announcing a new police station would add $150 a year to a ratepayer’s tax bill each year for 10 years.
She steadfastly refuses to reveal how that determination was made. After several emails from Ald. Johnston seeking clarification, Baldwin-Sands announced Monday her lips are sealed, based on advice from legal counsel.
Let’s get this straight. It’s alright to Tweet from the hip but when challenged on the veracity of your claim — keeping in mind you are an elected official — you are accountable to no one.
Oh to be so carefree.
While all this is unfolding, she and Ald. Cliff Barwick have a dandy verbal tussle on the go.
We’re not supposed to know anything about this episode — it occurred in an in-camera meeting — however thanks to one alderman’s eagerness to discredit Barwick, Ald. Mark Cosens blabbed a detail or two to open up the March 10 council meeting and the cat is out of the bag, sort of.
She is seeking disciplinary action against him, he is threatening a legal assault on her.
Do you not believe there are kindergarten classes across the city where the behaviour is exemplary compared to this sandbox?

WHO IS IN THE GAME

The line-up to date so far in the 2014 municipal election race is as follows:
Heather Jackson is seeking re-election and the five aldermanic hopefuls are Jacqueline De Leebeck, Ron Fugard, Rose Gibson, Joan Rymal and Linda Stevenson.
Definitely out of the running is Ald. Gord Campbell. A very likely non-runner is Ald. Jeff Kohler, who we predict has federal aspirations. Undecided as to which race to enter is Ald. Barwick.

WALKING IN THE FREE WORLD II
That’s the catchy moniker for Jason McComb’s planned walk across Canada to raise awareness for the less fortunate, downtrodden and homeless in particular.
As an advocate for the homeless, Jason is applying the experience gained on his walk to Ottawa late last year to undertake a cross-Canada trek commencing April 1.

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.


He will initially walk to London where, as was the case with his Ottawa journey, he will spend the night at The Unity Project, a shelter for the homeless.
From there it’s off to Toronto — via Woodstock, Paris, Brantford, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville and Mississauga — to catch a flight to Newfoundland and then get down to the serious business of hiking thousands of kilometres to Victoria.
Jason is the recipient of monthly disability benefits and also works a few hours a week for the Downtown Development Board. He uses all of his income from these sources to fund his organization, Homeless Happens Helping Hands, a resource hub.
“Everything that comes into Homeless Happens Helping Hands is intended to assist the less fortunate,” stresses Jason.
As was the case with his Ottawa venture, Jason will be in close contact with us on a regular basis. However you can keep in touch with this amazingly motivated individual on Twitter @HomelessMcjason, at facebook.com/HomelessHappens and by visiting his website at http://www.homelesshappens.net.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Just in the last two or three days I’ve seen the swans going by. I think they know better than we do when spring is about to arrive.”
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In what seems like the year of the endless winter, New Glasgow weather prognosticator Keith Kelly offers a glimmer of hope spring is not far off.

City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to ian.mccallum@sunmedia.ca.

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One thought on “Not knowing the price is a good thing

  1. GENDER BENDER
    Like so many things unquestioned, delve into Barwick’s opinion on women in general, their rights, and their presence on council. Ask Barwick how he treated the women on council during in-camera meetings when he was mayor.
    Do troubles with the likes of Janet Golding, Marie Turvey, Lori-Baldwin Sands and of course, who can forget the name-calling of Heather Jackson-Chapman during the last municipal election, tell us something about your pal Barwick? Are these difficulties with women rooted in misogyny?

    WHO IS IN THE GAME… AND WHO IS NOT
    If Barwick is undecided about whether he should run for mayor or run for alderman, perhaps he should just run for cover or heed Cromwell’s counsel, “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you.”

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