A campaign promise better left unfulfilled


The Jan. 19 council meeting in which Part 1 of the 2015 capital budget was unanimously approved is undeniable validation a new home for the St. Thomas Police Service did not play a significant role in the 2014 municipal campaign.

Members of council were united in committing $13 million to construct a purpose-built structure immediately west of the Timken Centre. It should be noted Coun. Jeff Kohler was absent from the vote due to a personal family matter.

In a presentation that evening by The Ventin Group, given direction by council to undertake the tendering process, a Class B cost estimate of $10.6 million for construction of the single-storey building was tabled.

A far cry from projections of up to $30 million floated in some corners during the bitter October election campaign.

“I am pleased to see this get here finally,” observed Coun. Linda Stevenson. “I have been listening to this for a decade. I can’t wait to see this building built.”

Proposed St. Thomas police station to be build adjacent to the Timken Centre.

Proposed St. Thomas police station to be build adjacent to the Timken Centre.

A sentiment apparently shared by all seated around the council horseshoe.

So, what is the next step in the evolutionary process leading to construction of a new police HQ?

“The architects (The Ventin Group) will continue their assignment and actually develop the tender documents and tender the building,” explained CAO Wendell Graves in an interview Thursday.

“And then council will decide at that point to move forward or not, based on that tendered amount,” he continued.

The architects are hoping to have tenders out in March or April.

So, is it conceivable work could finally begin some time this year?

“I believe so, yes,” offered Graves. “Once it is tendered, if everything goes according to the path it is on right now, construction could begin some time in the summer.”

What has yet to be determined is the length of time required for completion.

Graves did indicate a possible separate project will be the extension of Third Ave. through to Talbot St.

“We have Dillon Consulting doing all of the engineering for the servicing on Third Ave. They are working closely with The Ventin Group in terms of plugging the new (police) station in.

“Their assignment is to take a look if we were to do a full-blown road down there through to Talbot.”

All of which lays open to question a motion from Kohler to be presented Monday calling for city staff to obtain quotes from local contractors to renovate the second floor of the Colin McGregor Justice Building.

A campaign promise better left unfulfilled.


Lori Baldwin-Sands, federal Liberal candidate for Elgin-Middlesex-London, takes a mighty run at MP Joe Preston in a letter to the editor Friday in the Times-Journal.
ford plant
She lays the blame for the scuttled sale of Ford Canada’s St. Thomas Assembly Plant squarely at the feet of Preston, which she writes, “illustrates the need for strong federal leadership for our riding.”

She continues, “Elgin-Middlesex-London residents tell me they want to work, raise families and enjoy a high standard of living, without having to move away to seek opportunities.”

May we remind you Lori one of the factors in the high unemployment and diminished standard of living now a fact of life for many area residents is the exodus of plants and factories from Ontario due to skyrocketing energy costs.

A result of the green energy policies of the Dalton McGuinty/Kathleen Wynne governments.

A government you sought to become a member of in 2011.


In a story appearing in the T-J earlier this week, we noted less than half of the 22 mayoral and aldermanic candidates have filed their campaign financial statements as required under the Municipal Elections Act.

A few observations based on the accounting of the nine individuals who have submitted the documentation.

Both Frank Lattanzio and Phil Thomson ran campaigns that entailed no expenditures whatsoever apart from the fee required to file their nomination papers.

Too bad one of them didn’t garner enough votes to gain a council seat to prove it can be done. Or can it?

Cliff Barwick spent a tad over $4,000 in his unsuccessful bid to return to the mayor’s office and that is a little more than half the $7,700 spent by Mark Tinlin to gain a seat in the council chamber.

A fairly significant amount compared to the average spent by aldermanic candidates in recent campaigns.

That amount includes contributions from two developers: Shmuel Farhi, through Farhi Holdings in London, contributed $400, and Bob McCaig of St. Thomas supported Tinlin with $200.

Of the remaining two mayoral candidates, Heather Jackson estimated she spent under $6,000 on her campaign when asked by this corner during the October televised debate on Rogers.

If you remember, Mark Cosens was quite curt in his response, noting he would file a report “at the end of all this.”

And oh how interesting that accounting might be.

Likely will give a whole new meaning to creative financing.


Louise Vonk, Messenger Freight

Louise Vonk, Messenger Freight

“I’m just glad I could bring attention to St. Thomas. I went to the award event in Toronto, and no one knew about St. Thomas, except that it is where the Ford plant was. I’m glad to bring attention to this city and to the fact this is a trucking company that is woman-driven.”

Louise Vonk of Messenger Freight Systems in St. Thomas who placed 12th on a list of 100 top Canadian women entrepreneurs.

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

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