And now, this week’s parking plan


If you don’t live in or frequent the courthouse neighbourhood, you likely are not aware of the confusing – not to mention frustrating – parking situation residents and businesses have been dealt.
Too best sum it up, the consolidated courthouse parking plan is a page right out of last year’s Sunset Drive detour playbook. It seems to have been poorly strategized and is ever evolving as witness the changes adopted by city council on Monday.
The following is typical of the observations and complaints that have been forwarded our way.
“As a resident in the courthouse area who has attended meetings, met in person at city hall with staff, written suggestions, sent no less than 50 emails, sending photos of parking infractions, etc., I must certainly say that all has fallen on deaf ears,” writes one individual on the Times-Journal website. “Residents in this area have been through severe stress and personal sacrifice. The problems continue after 2 1/2 years of compliance to all of their hoop-jumping. We have ensured their job security but in turn almost nothing has been done to improve the situation for residents. We have fought tooth and nail for resolution and to no avail.”

Do you get a sense of the frustration area residents are dealing with?
“I was told in an email by the mayor that these things take time,” our reader advises. “They’ve had 2 1/2 years!!!! At 25 bucks a pop for parking tickets when the guy shows up, they’re making a cash grab off of the misfortune and abuse that the courthouse area taxpayers have been forced to suck up. We did not ask to have our entire lives turned inside out.”
Courthouse parking
All of this in an election year, so the lack of constructive action on the part of our elected representatives at city hall is rather baffling.
“It has forced good neighbours to sell their homes and move. How very sad that the CAO (Wendell Graves) can’t return phone calls promised until three weeks later and how the mayor and specific city council members do not respond to any emails. What a disgrace!!! I sure hope that the rest of the city looks long and hard at how this situation was not handled in case they ever have issues that they wish to be resolved.
“Twenty-three years in this beautiful heritage area, quaint, quiet, unique – all down the tubes! Not what any of us signed up for. The dynamic now is business only, making money, total disregard for the home owners.”
We question whether the parking is actually generating much in the way of revenue. The paved lots north of Centre Street – spaces mandated by the province and a fair hike from the actual courthouse – appear to seldom feel the weight of a parked vehicle.
Perhaps that is the issue that needs to be addressed at city hall. How much is it costing the city to enforce the courthouse parking regulations and what revenue is being generated by these 300 or so parking spaces to offset the expense?

The Times-Journal this week uncovered the disturbing story of food and safety issues at Walnut Manor, an independent supportive living home in St. Thomas. The quality and quantity of food served to the 14 residents is appalling.
20 jt 04 walnutmanorjpg
However, is this typical of group homes in St. Thomas and Elgin? Do you have first-hand knowledge of similar situations at area group homes?
Contact this corner at the email address below if you have food or safety concerns with a particular domiciliary hospice.


As president of the Southwest Economic Alliance, Serge Lavoie has done a terrific job of promoting Southwestern Ontario, a task he had to delegate to another individual for a couple of months when he hit the campaign trail as Liberal candidate in Elgin-Middlesex-London.
Serge Lavoie.
It was a political first for Lavoie who was unable to hit a homerun with voters in his debut.
The experience left him far from jaded and he would certainly consider campaigning again.
“You know I would. It was actually a really positive experience. I’ve been working for 30 years on the other side of government, lobbying and advocating. Now here I was on the other side, face-to-face with people, hearing from them what they wanted and it was just a fantastic experience.”
So, what reception did he receive when constituents opened the front door?
“I think they are looking for more integrity in government. They felt frustrated. It’s like a ping pong ball out there. Whoever you elect, there seems to be something that disappoints.”
His analysis of the grassroots mood is quite refreshing.
“There was a general feeling that the past sins of the Liberal government had to be punished. However you do that. But they weren’t thrilled with what they were being presented by other parties. People just don’t feel they are connected to the process very much.”
And there’s a reason why voter turnout at all levels of government is abysmally low.

“Now that the party politics are largely behind us, now we’ve got the issue of how do we connect Southwestern Ontario to the government in power.”
Serge Lavoie, unseuccessful Liberal candidate in Elgin-Middlesex-London, on how to get a Toronto-Hamilton centred provincial government to take notice of Elgin and the rest of Southwestern Ontario.

City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to

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