Laying down the law in the Sutherland Saga originated from an unlikely source this week in the form of Ontario Superior Court Justice Peter Hockin, one of the original cast members in the near-decade long run of this soap opera.
Tuesday at the Elgin County Courthouse, Hockin was set to preside over the hearing involving the City of St. Thomas versus Sutherland Lofts owner David McGee.
McGee, through lawyer Valerie M’Garry, is challenging an unsafe building order issued Oct. 28 by the city that gave him until Dec. 15 of last year to provide a detailed work plan and schedule repairs to begin early last month on the four-storey structure.
But, as was the case on Jan. 3, the hearing was a non-starter due to M’Garry’s ill health.
After a 30-minute conference with M’Garry and the city’s legal counsel John Sanders, Hockin pulled no punches when announcing the matter would be addressed May 24 with or without M’Garry.
“Mr. McGee should take that into account,” cautioned Hockin.
Tough talk from Hockin who, almost nine years ago, overturned a ruling from Justice David Little that gave the city the green light to start dismantling the building that dates to 1913.
That was July, 2008 and Justice Little chided McGee for failure to post security in the amount of $100,000 per a court order issued in January of that year.
In addition McGee failed to apply for a building permit “addressing the scope of work necessary to eliminate any unsafe condition on Talbot Street . . .”
At that July 14 hearing, Justice Little noted “The owner gave no excuse whatsoever for having failed to post security or obtain a building permit in accordance with the terms of the order of Madam Justice Rady.”
You want tough talk from a justice? How about this summation from Justice Little.
“The city has acted properly throughout. That cannot be said for the owner. The city is effectively being held hostage, as are its citizens, by an apparent shell corporation that has proven itself unreliable.”
Ten days later, Justice Hockin halted demolition when he ruled in favour of McGee’s request for leave of appeal, disputing the decision made by Justice Little.
It’s time to move on, the hostages are beyond the restless stage.
A HAPPY DAY THANKS TO HAP DAY
To the new generation of Maple Leafs’ fans, the name is likely to draw a blank. To long-suffering supporters, the name Hap Day speaks of the glory days of the blue and white.
Clarence (Hap) Day enjoyed a 33-year career in the NHL as a player, referee and in the front office, 28 of those with the Leafs. His name is engraved on the Stanley Cup seven times, the last in 1951 as assistant manager in Toronto.
He left/was pushed out of the organization in 1957. His #4 was honoured in 2006 and officially retired ten years later during celebrations honouring the Leafs’ centennial season.
There is a wonderful St. Thomas connection to Hap Day.
Following his tenure in Toronto, Day purchased Elgin Handles, formerly located on Kains Street. He sold the operation to his son in 1977.
A highly skilled defenceman named one of the Top 100 players in Maple Leafs’ history, Hap Day died 27 years ago yesterday at his St. Thomas home. He was 88 years old.
Well, there is about to be a new chapter written in the Hap Day story in St. Thomas.
City manager Wendell Graves is keeping details close to the chest, but promises a report to council early in March.
We do know the event revolves around Hap Day, the Leafs and the Air Canada Centre.
PEDAL TO THE METAL
A big thumbs up to D.J. Kennington, who will be running fast on Sunday in an effort to qualify for next weekend’s Daytona 500.
Love the insight D.J. offered in a recent interview with this corner.
“If you have a really good car and a good engine and you can miss the wrecks, you can hopefully make the race.”
Git ‘er done.
ONE TO WATCH
The need for additional community soccer pitches and football fields – both for games and practice time – will be addressed in the next couple of years with construction of the St. Thomas Outdoor Recreation Complex on Burwell Road.
The complex, to be completed at an estimated cost of $11.4 million, will be front and centre Tuesday at the meeting of city council’s reference committee.
Design work has been completed by Landscape Planning Inc., and Paul Gardner from the firm will be present that afternoon along with members of St. Thomas Soccer Club and minor football to confer with council.
A pair of road construction undertakings have been designated by the city as early start construction projects. These are the Lake Margaret Trail/Southdale Line roundabout and reconstruction of First Avenue between Talbot and Wellington streets, with both projects scheduled to commence next month.
The roundabout includes new storm sewer, watermain and sanitary sewer for the future Parish Farm subdivision off Southdale Line. Also included are curbs and gutters, sidewalks and bike lanes.
The contractor, Birnam Excavating, intends to begin work March 6 with completion expected mid-May.
Reconstruction of First Avenue will entail widening of the road, new storm sewer, watermain and sanitary sewer plus a new sidewalk on the west side of First Avenue.
Bre-Ex Construction should be on site by mid-March and wrap up the job some time in June.
In his report to council Tuesday, manager of capital works David Jackson indicated the First Avenue project will require one month of round-the-clock weekday work which will result in a one-month overall time savings. This will reduce the impact of closing First Avenue, the second busiest city thoroughfare with 20,000 vehciles per day.
By tendering late last year, the city will reap an estimated $67,000 saving on the roundabout and an estimated $100,000 for First Avenue.
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