Should city consider purchasing its downtown nemesis?


city_scope_logo-cmykJust when you thought the Sutherland Saga couldn’t attain grander levels of absurdity, comes word the structure is now on the market as a power of sale listing.
As of March 19, the building is available for purchase from E & M Cavaco for $99,888.
While the listing didn’t quite describe it in this fashion, we can imagine something along the lines of this.
“A spectacular fixer-upper in need of a little loving attention. Ideal for the handyman. With a little time and resources could be returned to former glory. Close to downtown and adjacent to rail transportation. No reasonable offer refused.”
So where does this leave the city and (former?) owner David McGee? They are supposed to appear in St. Thomas court next Friday as McGee attempts again to stall demolition of the structure that dates back to 1913.

27jt01sutherlandjpg

A significant amount of brick residue is an indication all is not well with the health of the Sutherland Press building.

We asked city manager Wendell Graves that question in light of the fact the building could be sold by that time
“It will continue on,” he advised. “I guess we’ll see what will happen between now and next week. You know how court matters go, anything can happen right up until you are on the doorstep of the court.”
What about the possibility of the city snapping up the building to control its own destiny?
“We haven’t had a fulsome discussion on that but we do have our lens on that scenario. It’s early in the game.”
So why does it seem like this game has dragged on for a decade or so?

Related posts:

What’s next in the Sutherland saga?

The city is playing politics insists Sutherland Press building owner

Sutherland Press building demolition on hold again

Time for straight talk on the future of Alma property

Will council give green light to Sutherland Press building demolition?

STEGH job cuts revive that old two-step episode

Round 2 of demolition derby announced

Sutherland Press building roof collapse raises significant concerns

The Sutherland Press building is on a slow simmer

Derelict building a reminder of dirty politics

Sutherland Press building a backdrop for smear campaign

Not the end of the Sutherland Press saga

POINT TO PONDER

takenjpgAn An exciting beginning to the week down in Port Stanley, what with the shooting of scenes for NBC’s Taken TV series pilot in various locales around the village.
No one was more excited than Central Elgin Mayor David Marr, who took in some of the action between tax preparation appointments.
“My understanding was they were looking around for a place to film and they looked at several ports and they basically came to Port Stanley because of the character,” enthused Marr. “All of the different historic buildings and it’s just totally different than any other port.”
He added, “It’s the character of the village, it’s got a bit of everything. I’m sure there are going to be other shows or films that will see that and recognize they can use us.”
Character and quaintness . . . Port’s two key selling features.
Do you think the producers would have given the community a second thought had a nine-storey condo been looming over all that character and quaintness?
Something to think about if the powers to be wish to attract other film crews for on-location shooting.

WHAT GIVES?
Last September, the city issued a media release trumpeting the positive benefits of “strategic changes” at city hall.
city-hall.jpg“With its sights set on the strengthening of its leadership and organizational management, streamlining corporate financial management and the continued renewal of the Environmental Services Department, City Council has put in motion a number of strategic changes.”
The missive didn’t mention the shuffle saw manager of engineering Brian Clement, corporate services officer Rita Crocker and budget officer Betty Maciejowski handed pink slips.
By the end of that week,  Dave White — prior to the announced changes he was the supervisor of roads and transportation — and Cyril McCready — supervisor of water and wastewater — were now sporting manager titles.
A promotion for both by all accounts.
So why was McCready escorted out of city hall in the past few days without a word of explanation? We asked Graves if McCready was no longer in the employ of the city.
“That is correct, I can’t speak a lot about that. But he is no longer with the city.”
In fact that is as far as Graves was willing to tread .
So, will the position be filled or has it been eliminated?
“We’re going to be looking at what the next steps are,” advised Graves, who added this wasn’t part of the reorganization of environmental services, as outlined in the Dobbie report.
That document recommended reducing one management level in the department; relocation of certain divisions away from city hall; the establishment of corporate teams; improvements to customer service; and the CAO position be a standalone post and not combined with city clerk duties as has been the case with Graves.
“This is not a continuation of that restructuring,” assured Graves.
Perhaps anonymous employee Dave in environmental services can cast light on the situation.
Entirely off the record, of course.

Related posts:

There’s always room for one more manager at city hall

Three positions axed in city hall organizational shuffle

discgolfjpgQUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Temporarily closed due to risk of tree failure.”
Warning posted at the entrance to the disc golf course at Waterworks Park. Which prompted reader Mallory Austin to post on Facebook, “I picture a screen appearing on the tree. ‘Error 404. Tree cannot be found.’”

 

 

City Scope appears Saturday in the St. Thomas Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to imccallum@postmedia.com

 

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One thought on “Should city consider purchasing its downtown nemesis?

  1. Ian,

    It’s been over a year since I checked back, but it seems the more time passes, the more things remain unchanged. I don’t know how you retain your sanity in that nuthouse of a burg. A couple of comments on your opinion piece and beyond;

    WHAT’S BEING BURIED?
    You should dig deeper on Cyril McCready. Look at the scope of responsibility and the work performed. Check business practices and possible associates. Talk to staff, and see what you find; I don’t think you will come up empty-handed.
    If you come upon a deep hole and there are shovels laying about, something is being buried.
    Any criminal charges pending?

    TWO SPEEDS – SLOW AND STOP
    There are two speeds associated with city administration in St. Thomas, slow and stop. Be it, bridges, roads, sewers, police stations, skateboarding parks, accessibility, property standards enforcement – they basically run the table on always being busy doing nothing and of course appointing committees.
    Did they ever form a committee to oversee all the other committees?
    No surprise that Graves thinks it’s early in the game and you know it’s been a decade.

    ASCENT’S COLLAPSE TOTALLY PREDICTABLE
    In 2008 (I believe), I made a deputation to council foretelling that the then-St. Thomas Energy Corporation was a financial house of cards playing musical chairs with board appointees and having city council as its shareholders.
    A case of lunatics running the asylum?
    Did they ever repay the $7.0M debt to the city?

    Cheers, Bill

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