If you’re thinking the downtown core is again this winter cloaked in a decidedly shabby mantle, your mind is not playing tricks.
That observation has not escaped the attention of Downtown Development Board chairman Earl Taylor.
“The city took away our garbage cans again this year,” advised Taylor in a recent conversation, “and you know what happened two years ago.”
That would be the stretch of winter in 2015 when – and we’re not joshing here – the city undertook a study to determine what happens when you take away most of the garbage cans along Talbot Street.
At that time, homeless advocate Jason McComb had been hired by the DDB to keep the core free of garbage, although he was pulled out of action over the winter.
“The reason we sort of called him off is when the city took the 40 garbage cans away (along Talbot St.) the first week of January, I was advised they wanted to do a bit of a study to see what the implications were,” advised Taylor in March of 2015. “So I called Jason off,” Taylor continued. “If we pick the garbage up we ruin their study.”
Well either the study was inconclusive or there’s more to the story because the receptacles have again been removed . . . and guess the result.
“The city seems to think there is very little garbage produced in the winter time,” continued Taylor. “Well what are you talking about? Just walk downtown and see the mess that’s there already. Snow isn’t there to cover it up so it’s very visible. We’re trying to get information out of city hall as to when they’re bringing them back but the communication is nil to none.”
Well, what goes around comes around. Jason is back in town temporarily and he emailed this observation.
“. . . and still monitoring the litter and lack of garbage bins (with the obvious exception of the one in front of the Tim Hortons conveniently located across the street from city hall of course!) and it is no secret that I have a strong dislike for any amount of litter and even less of a secret that, if I see something that needs to attention, I am none too shy to be outspoken about it until it is taken care of.”
The DDB chairman is of the same ilk and, as a consequence, Jason is back on the street Monday.
As he puts it, “Talbot street will shine again starting early next week and be ongoing until I am told to stop!”
Welcome back Jason, things are picking up.
WHAT DID THEY EARN?
As required by the Municipal Act, the agenda for Monday’s council meeting contains a report from treasurer David Aristone detailing the remuneration and expenses paid in the previous year to each member of council.
Here is the breakdown of all eight members.
Mayor Heather Jackson: base salary $51,803.05; travel $6,126.59; paid benefits $2,143.56; conferences/workshops $6,115.85; total $66,189.05.
Coun. Mark Burgess: $21,400.32; $1,000; $2,034.68; zero for workshops; total $24,435.
Coun. Gary Clarke: $21,400.32; $1,000; $2,034.68; $202.61; total $24,637.61.
Coun. Jeff Kohler: $21,400.32; $1,000; $5,391.72; zero for workshops; total $27,792.04.
Coun. Joan Rymal: $21,946.36; $1,000; $2,034.68; $1,532.58; total $26,513.62
Coun. Linda Stevenson: $21,400.32; $1,204.23; $2,034.68; zero for workshops; total $24,639.23.
Coun. Mark Tinlin: $21,400.32; $1,031.12; $2,034.68; $2,318.79; total $26,784.91.
Coun. Steve Wookey: $21,793.52; $1,000; $2,034.68; $1,539.51; $26,367.71.
Council will hold the third in a series of special meetings, 4 p.m. Monday to discuss the 2017 operating and capital budgets plus council grants.
The meeting is open to the pubic and will be held in the council chamber at city hall.
What began on Jan. 15, 2005 as a weekly column in the Times–Journal designed to “take readers behind the scenes at city hall to provide a perspective on those issues that will impact St. Thomas and its neighbours,” – as documented in the very first edition of City Scope – has done a credible job of fulfilling that mandate in the ensuing dozen years, in our totally biased opinion.
From the credit card kerfuffle and no-holds-barred municipal election campaigns to the Barwick Five and the Sutherland Saga, it has been an E-ticket ride.
A staple of City Scope has been the quote of the week, launched with this oddity.
“I’m sure dogs for toilets is a good exchange.”
That was Ald. Cliff Barwick‘s response to the late Terry Shackelton‘s suggestion $16,560 in potential new revenue from the city’s animal control shelter be applied to upgrading toilets in the Timken Centre.
This week’s column closes the file on the Saturday stalwart that found a home on Page 7 for all those years.
How do you begin to thank the many individuals who – in some cases – risked their jobs to serve as City Scope whistle blowers?
Can there ever be enough gratitude expressed to you loyal readers who began your Saturday – or in some cases spoiled your breakfast – by turning to Page 7?
City Scope will now transition to an expanded format online at ianscityscope.com. We extend a welcome and, as always, your comments are encouraged and appreciated.
We’ll catch you on the next time around.
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