Exactly when did this happen? Obviously city council held a closed door meeting and went ahead and approved construction of a new $26 million police station. Talk about a fast one.
Don’t believe this is a done deal? We’ve got the proof.
It says so right here on the introduction to a video produced by Bendel Productions (http://bit.ly/1hRIcNT). Let me quote.
“Our City Council has given the green light to build a new $26,000,000.00 Police Station.”
Can you believe it?
The only thing this video illustrates is how spiffy a living room Bob McCaig has.
It’s just one example of the mis-truths, speculation and utter fabrications being bandied about, with no proof whatsoever to back up these ludicrous claims.
Another example is a $35 million estimate posted on the Times-Journal website.
By the time the municipal election rolls around in October, the price of a new police HQ will surely be in the hundreds of millions.
And, while we’re on the subject of the municipal vote, perhaps this whole station squabble really isn’t about what location the police will work out of and, instead, is an attempt to massage the compostion of what will be the incoming council.
Let’s hypothesize a certain developer would like to have dealings with a city council – how should we put this – a little more sympathetic to his vision of St. Thomas.
Perhaps the last two councils have not exhibited the same enthusiasm for his proposed undertakings as he had hoped.
Then do what higher levels of government have perfected over the years. Create an issue, generate a crisis then push your agenda and preferred candidates to the forefront.
In this case, the flash point is the supposed high cost of a new police facility and only two or three members of council have the sense to halt this project using any means possible.
For their efforts, only these aldermen should be returned to office and the rest unceremoniously dumped. In fact one of these individuals should surely step forward as mayor.
Spend time and money promoting like-minded candidates for the October vote and, with a little luck, your new council is more likely to embrace your proposed developments.
Something like a luxury condo overlooking one of the city’s heritage parks.
We know for a fact a current alderman gave such a terraced condo development the thumbs up in 2005, when he sat as mayor and proclaimed no opposition to a long-term lease arrangement to proceed with the 12-storey, 150-unit building.
He went so far as to announce it would even enhance the park entrance.
So you see maybe, just maybe, this really isn’t about a police station at all.
With the good weather here, want to give you a heads up on two honking big concrete pads the city has installed on the north side of Centre St., west of Metcalfe.
They’re great for boarding. And we have already seen several ball hockey games break out. As long as you don’t fall, they would be O.K. for touch football.
These couldn’t come at a better time with longer evenings and summer break just around the corner.
We think these are referred to as multi-purpose facilities, so when everyone is finished playing, visitors to the courthouse could always use them too.
OH, AND BY THE WAY
On the subject of parking. If you have parked for free in the past along Centre St. west of Hincks, find a new spot. Signs went up Friday noting both sides of Centre St. are now for neighbourhood permit parking and courthouse parking.
Just how many people are expected to visit the courthouse on any given day?
This corner is extending an invitation to the mayor, all members of council and those candidates who have filed their nomination papers to join Ed McLachlan and I for the third City Scope Accessibility Challenge.
We will be touring all levels of the Colin McGregor Justice Building to determine the obstacles that would hinder free movement by any individual with an accessibility issue – be it mobility, visual or other impairment.
The challenge is prompted by the seeming indifference exhibited by certain members of council to address accessibility issues that might impede visitors and staff, should the current police station undergo renovations.
The undertaking will begin at 2 p.m. this Thursday and, as feedback from the first two challenges underscored, may forever change attitudes toward accessibility in St. Thomas.
As a postscript, we extend this invitation to the city’s newest aldermanic hopeful, Todd Rowley, who filed his nomination papers on Friday.
DID YOU KNOW
In a report to council on Tuesday, the city’s new chief building officer, Chris Peck, responds to a request by Ald. Jeff Kohler as to what would constitute a change of use at the current home of the police service if renovation of the building is the preferred option.
As long as you limit work on the second floor – vacated by the courts – to replacement of furniture and updating finishes like the flooring and painting, there should be no need to acquire a permit and the subsequent building and accessibility codes that would have to be met.
Here’s the kicker from the city staffer.
“Please note that this opinion may change should any construction be contemplated to the building or any of its systems such as plumbing systems, HVAC systems, emergency lighting systems, fire alarm system, accessibility, etc.”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“It’s time, maybe, we cut back on our efforts with the video contacts. Let’s get the facts in front of us.”
Ald. Gord Campbell during heated debate Monday over whether to construct a new police station.
City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.