It’s not a loss, it’s simply an adjustment

city_scope_logo-cmykAs referenced in this corner last week, city council will be in receipt Monday of a report outlining the tender results for construction of the new St. Thomas Police Service headquarters.
The low bid is $10,733,000 from M.J. Dixon Construction, a Brampton firm.
That figure includes construction of the one-storey facility just west of the Timken Centre and the T-intersection at the north end of Third Ave.
Eleven firms were pre-qualified for the process and nine of those firms submitted bids.
As confirmed by CAO Wendell Graves, all of the firms have experience in the construction of police facilities or similar structures.
The tenders ranged up to $13,125,000 for the highest bid.

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.

The lowest bid, if accepted by council on Monday, keeps the price tag well in line with the Sept. 2, 2014 estimate of $12,573,897 approved by the previous council.
The city has in place a financing agreement with Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corp. for $14.6 million in financing.
Should council accept the M.J. Dixon tender, the intention is to bring a report back in September relating to the hiring of a project manager to provide oversight on the city’s behalf.
Will councillors Jeff Kohler and Mark Burgess remain in opposition or will council unite in a symbolic gesture of goodwill to close out several decades of acrimonious debate and haggling?

The partnership between the city and Elgin St. Thomas Public Health on a pilot project to deal with improperly disposed needles and drug equipment appears to be off to a rocky launch.10jt03needlesjpg
That’s according to a report to be presented to council.
The pilot project would involve placement of sharps kiosks on public property for users to safely dispose their used needles.
Health unit staff had proposed two initial locations for the kiosks: Greens Parkette across from city hall and the Northside Neighbourhood Hub.
However both of those locations are on private property and the owners have not given consent for the undertaking.
City staff are now recommending a single location at this point in the area of city hall. However the exact placement of the kiosk has yet to be determined.
Another consideration to be worked out: who is responsible for cleanup should the kiosk be vandalized.
Certainly a valid concern.

Also on Monday’s council agenda is an appearance by Michael Barrett, South West Local Health Integration Network CEO, “to provide an update on clinical services planning currently underway and its impact on the community.”

Michael Barrett

Michael Barrett

In plain English, Barrett will advise council St. Thomas could see a new stroke centre to be housed at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, if provincial funding is made available.
To provide the enhanced service, 21 small hospitals, including Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital, would lose their existing stroke services.
Let’s hope Michael sticks to the slide presentation a little closer than he did when the same presentation was made to Elgin county council last week.
At that time, he let it slip this proposed strategy would involve pooling staff and resources in key areas and, as a result, some staff from other hospitals such as the one in Tillsonburg would move to STEGH to deliver the enhanced services.
A big oopsie.
That reference caught hospital administration off guard as they frantically tried to quell fears from staff here and in Tillsonburg, who apparently knew nothing about these possible moves.
It prompted a phone call our way from someone in administration at the South West LHIN to challenge us on the veracity of the comments, which led to a convoluted word challenge.
You see these hospitals are not losing a service, it is simply an adjustment.
Sheesh, semantics.
Sorry Fred, you haven’t lost your job, we’re just adjusting it so that you are no longer employed here.
Feel better?

Another month or so and St. Thomas Cemetery Company will have to submit a viable business plan to city council in order to receive the remaining portion of its $59,000 operating grant.

Lesley Buchanan at West Ave. Cemetery.

Lesley Buchanan at West Ave. Cemetery.

As such, the steering committee formed in the spring — comprised of treasurer David Aristone and Coun. Steve Wookey, along with members of the cemetery board — will meet Wednesday to nail down ways in which the cemetery can generate funds.
Otherwise it will be a series of charity bingos and other fundraising ventures to satisfy mayor and council the company can turn a profit.
Company manager Lesley Buchanan — with tongue firmly planted in cheek we’re sure — suggested weekly car washes and may have used the word topless in some reference.
This corner suggested holding the Fantasy of Lights in West Ave. Cemetery, since the organizers of that annual event have thrown up their collective hands in frustration with a $14,000 rental fee for use of pavilions in Pinafore Park.
Of course, as the mayor duly pointed out, the Fantasy of Lights organizers could have approached council with a grant request.
What, and jump through hoops like Buchanan and company have done this summer?


Grant Jones

Grant Jones

“We feel like we have a gun held to our head at this point. If we don’t sign the deal we could lose. It’s very unsavory.”
Southwold Mayor Grant Jones at Thursday’s special meeting of council to deal with a Capstone Infrastructure proposal to construct a solar farm on the eastern portion of the former Ford Canada St. Thomas Assembly Plant.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s