Sutherland Press building in 2008, prior to partial demolition of front face
It’s deja-vu all over again for the Sutherland Press building.
As was the case in 2008, the fate of the four-storey Talbot St. edifice — scheduled for demolition this month by the city — will be decided in the courts. The city’s legal counsel and Toronto owner David McGee met in a London courtroom Tuesday and will return to the Elgin County Courthouse on April 8.
“I was actually in court this afternoon (Tuesday) going through the same stuff we went through before,” said McGee, who added he received a letter from the city advising demolition would begin Monday on the structure that dates back to 1913.
“They sent that to me yesterday (Monday) and I stayed up all night and drove down this morning.”
Alma College plaque
To the City of St Thomas,
We are finished with Alma.
This news brings both relief and sorrow to us. It has been a long, long journey and it is good to be done. Unfortunately, we never realized the dream of rebuilding Alma. We had great plans. We wanted to restore the building, and bring it back to its former glory. The situation came down to the fact that we could not do it. And for that, we are sorry for our part.
Alma College was a wonderful, historic building with so many fond memories. People would gather and recall beautiful periods of their lives. The stories were great to listen to.
What we did not know was that the way it had been built and having the historic specifications on it scared most of the developers away. The added environmental concerns added to the story. The need to reconstruct the façade put it into a financial burden that no one wanted to tackle. Continue reading
No backroom wheeling and dealing this time around. When his five-year contract expires in October, St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital president and CEO Paul Collins is holding true to his word.
No contract extension – step aside and make way for a new hand at the helm.
“As I announced five years ago when we negotiated the contract, that would be my last and we’re sticking to the plan,” Collins insisted.
Not that he is necessarily bidding farewell to the world he loves.
In a lengthy conversation earlier this month, Collins spoke frankly of the future.
“I think I still have something to offer in health care. I have a great passion for this work. Who knows what opportunity will present itself. Leave the options open.”
And what words of wisdom will he pass on to the incoming CEO?
“The first thing I would say is they are very fortunate to come into a great community that has tremendous generosity. And they’ve shown it not to just this hospital, but to a lot of other agencies.
What next for poor old Alma, or at least the mounds of rubble that in better days fit piece by piece into the magnificent edifice at the end of Moore St. that watched ever so stately over St. Thomas?
The 11-acre property is no longer in the hands of the Zubick family of London having been handed over to Gino Reale, a developer from the same city.
No firm plans for the site of the former school for girls that operated between 1881 and 1998, Reale told us on Wednesday, but he insisted he has two immediate goals.
“I want to clean up the site and get rid of all the garbage and concrete that’s spread everywhere and then we’re going to do an environmental assessment,” said Reale.
Always a controversial topic, the city and Elgin county this week released the salaries of employees earning in excess of $100,000 in 2015, as required by the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act of 1996.
For the city, 95 employees eared greater than $100,000, that’s one less than 2014. It’s the first decrease in many years.
Breaking down by sector, 31 members of the St. Thomas Police Service are included, down from 33 in 2014.
A total of 48 members of the St. Thomas Fire Department are on the list, the same number as 2014.
And in city administration, 16 staffers are listed, up one from 2014.
The top earner at city hall is Wendell Graves at $175,099 as compared to $172,372.48 the previous year. Continue reading