The second meeting of the police building committee attracted a strange assortment of bedfellows Thursday morning at city hall.
Notables included former mayor Peter Ostojic, former alderman Marie Turvey and former Elgin County Board of Education chairman Bob McCaig.
Discussion of a new police headquarters, to be located on city-owned land adjacent to the Timken Centre, has generated such pushback the meeting had to be moved to a larger venue.
Deliberations had barely begun and McCaig couldn’t contain himself any longer.
“Why are you in such a hurray,” he blustered, as the committee attempted to establish a schedule for developing a request for proposal for architectural services.
“A group of people want to ram this through.”
A suggestion for Bob. Sit down with committee member, Ald. Mark Cosens, and take a couple of moments to view his 2010 municipal election campaign video. The link is posted below.
Specifically the intro where Cosens stresses, “If we’re going to talk about the city, we have to talk about the police. This is a topic that has been on the radar, I understand, for 20 years.”
Hmmm. Twenty years is not exactly what you could call ramming ahead with anything.
Next up to the plate was Ostojic, who certainly won’t be called upon anytime soon to appear in any video promoting the benefits of locating in St. Thomas.
“I don’t see any growth happening. There’s not a lot going on.”
How’s that for boosterism from a developer.
Ostojic continued, “We’re not ready for a big expenditure like this.”
He sure didn’t have any qualms about committing ratepayers to a $7.5 million expenditure on a twin-pad arena.
It was most unfortunate both McCaig and Ostojic were called away on urgent business and couldn’t remain at the meeting to hear all the facts.
As for Turvey, she waved about an 11-year-old study as proof we don’t need a new police station.
The only proof there, Marie, is further evidence for Bob this is anything but ramming ahead with a new police station.
Then there was Cosens at his flip-flop best.
Early in the meeting he assured all present that ground contamination at the site of the current police headquarters wouldn’t interfere with renovations at the Colin McGregor Justice Building. That is why we should consider that option instead of a new police facility.
Fast forward an hour or so and discussion turns to what would the city do once the police move into a new headquarters and the justice building is now vacant.
Cosens springs into action with the warning it’s going to be difficult to get rid of a building that’s sitting on a contaminated site.
More dipsy-doodle curves than an R.A. Dickey knuckleball.
The committee meets again 11 a.m. Monday at city hall.
Don’t ya dare miss it!
The private member’s bill promoted by MPP Jeff Yurek received all-party support during second reading, but is being held up by NDP MPP Cindy Forster (Welland) due to concerns about wording.
The bill is designed to protect asthmatic schoolchildren and is in response to the death of 12-year-old Ryan Gibbons following an asthma attack at Straffordville Public School. The youngster wasn’t allowed to carry his puffer with him.
The delay prompted this posting on the Times-Journal website from Ryan’s mother, Sandra Gibbons.
“Obviously they don’t feel it is important to protect our children. It’s a shame that this is not a vital option for our children this coming September 2014, because someone doesn’t like the way the wording comes out.
“The reason for amendments is to change that and make it right, but instead, lets complain about it until it is too late to make a difference this year. It saddens me to no end that there is a possibility our children will not have a policy for asthma this year and could take many years to come before they do.”
Ryan’s Law would require every school board to establish and maintain an asthma policy, which must include, among other things, strategies to reduce risk of exposure to asthma triggers, a requirement that every school principal develop an individual plan for each pupil who has asthma and a requirement that every school principal maintain a file for each pupil with asthma.
A BLAST FROM THE PAST
Seems the aforementioned Turvey from Central Elgin may be toying with a return to St. Thomas city council. She was unseated in 2006 when she polled 10th with 2,911 votes.
With much clamoring on the streets for younger, more progressive representation, this would be an interesting exercise in campaign management.
Should she be successful in returning to city hall after an eight-year absence, we’ll have to dust off our copy of the McCarthy-Tetrault report — the part dealing with micro-management.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“There is no question city police are starved for space, they are in cramped quarters, and they’re dealing with an outdated building. The building is of such construction that to try and renovate the current building would be nearly impossible, without tearing the whole thing down and starting over from scratch. We’ll go over and show you the new site where the police station is proposed to be built and this will all happen in the next term of council.”
Taken from Ald. Mark Cosens’ 2010 campaign video. You can watch his pledge to move forward with a new police station here, http://bit.ly/1lODxDF.
City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow @ianscityscope