Complete Streets: Paving the way forward


city_scope_logo-cmykEndorsed Monday by city council, the Complete Street guidelines are “”a shift in mindset from the historical car-centric streets to modern multi-purpose streets that appropriately support all modes of transportation,” advised David Jackson, the city’s manager of capital works.

It’s an ambitious blueprint for the future with an aim to design, create and build streetscapes that accommodate users of all ages and abilities and all modes of transportation including pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and transit users.

However we could argue there is little clear direction on the latter save for continued road reconstruction to lessen the shake, rattle and roll that hastens the demise of city buses.

As with anything that originates at city hall, it didn’t take long for the social media denizens to weigh in on the guidelines, and in particular the rehabilitation of the west end of Talbot Street.

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On Facebook, Al Grech observed “It’s a huge cosmetic improvement for sure.”

Echoed by poster Larry Wilcox, “Going in a positive direction.”

“I love how there are train parts, etc. included in the benches,” added Yvonne Steer.

Rest assured there is an equally vocal flip side.

We assume Guy Cooper is a trucker with his contribution, “Try making a turn onto Talbot’s west end with an 18 wheeler after making deliveries.”

Not impressed, states Tina Hindley. “Absolutely hate the new design on Talbot, it is horrendous getting in and out of the timmies now or the muffler shop . . . can’t wait for snow piles to be added.”

Taking us further down Talbot Street, Tony Bendel pointed out “I love how the benches on Moore St face the awful looking Sutherland Press building. Why if anyone can tell me, were those benches not facing the green grass and tress? Such nice work and then dumb ass placement of the benches.”

All very valid points but we have to leave the final word to Charlene Frances Marie.

“I swear people in this town just live to bitch!”

Related post:

Who will pay for multi-million dollar streetscape makeover?

A SIGN OF THE TIMES

The folks over at Employment Services Elgin are feeling good about their upcoming job fair this Wednesday from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Seniors Centre.

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Close to 400 people attended the Presstran Job Fair on Feb. 27, 2016.

It’s easy to look upon these casting calls with a jaded eye as you walk past hundreds of out-of-work individuals or those stuck on the low pay, short contract job treadmill lining up with resumes clutched expectantly in hand.

Is the fair a symbol of hope or a sad reminder of desperate times?

Michelle Huigenbo of Employment Services Elgin is an advocate of the former.

“There’s jobs out there,” she assures, “there really, really are. It’s great for our community . . . It gives people hope that there are those jobs out there.”

For those of you who will be at the Seniors Centre, this corner sincerely hopes your job prospects are much brighter when you leave.

This town could do with a little more good news.

IT HAS GOOD BONES

The Sutherland Sage took centre stage in these parts last week with a focus on what is the next card to be played by city hall.

But what of the owner, David McGee? After eight years of lethargy on his part, is it still his intention to actually proceed with any meaningful work on the four-storey edifice?

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A conceptual drawing of what the Sutherland Press building might possibly look like if successfully converted into a condominium development.

To find out, we had a lengthy conversation with his lawyer, Valerie M’Garry.

We started with whether there has been any meaningful dialogue between her client and the city in the past year.

“I’d say there has been,” she advised. “But again, we have this chicken-and-egg question. We seem to have gone in circles because the city wants Sutherland Lofts to do certain things and we can only do certain things with the city’s co-operation.

“We have to come to some kind of understanding,” M’Garry continued, “and I’m hoping as a result of this process at this stage we might achieve that.”

Is it still the hope to have a positive outcome with the Sutherland Press building?

“That certainly is our perspective on it. The city manager (Wendell Graves) espouses that position but we haven’t seen any positive reinforcement of that. And at this point it is all speculation.

“Mr. McGee has fought hard twice now to preserve this building. We’ve always felt this building has good bones and does provide a positive contribution to the city streetscape . . . especially given its location which is right at (the railway corridor).”

In fact the proposed new location of the city cenotaph – a hoped-for Canada 150 project – would literally stand in the shadow of the structure.

“It has the potential to be a really nice addition to St. Thomas’ downtown,” M’Garry continued. “The phrase architects use is adaptive re-use.”

We would be remiss if we didn’t probe into the thoughts of the Toronto owner at this stage.

“I think he is a little bit relieved the wrecking ball isn’t going to swing tomorrow,” M’Garry observed. “But where we go from here depends on the discussions we’re able to have with the city in the coming days and weeks . . . And we’ll move forward from there.

Related posts:

There’s no shortage of work orders in the Sutherland Saga

Sutherland Saga sees St. Thomas held for ransom

Sutherland Press building demolition decision deferred

After eight years, where might the money be?

Sutherland stalling hits ratepayers in the pocket

A little good news on the Alma College front

Round 1 in Demo Derby #2 goes to St. Thomas

Sutherland insurance policy is somewhat reassuring

Should city consider purchasing its downtown nemesis?

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

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

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