The city is eager to begin remediation at 230 Talbot Street, site of the proposed “social services and housing campus” on a parcel of land purchased last year from London developer Shmuel Farhi.
The winning tender for cleanup will come to council Tuesday for approval.
And, it comes in significantly above the anticipated range of $400,000 to $600,000.
At Tuesday’s meeting, council will be asked to endorse the tender submitted by All Season Excavating at $728,819 for remediation of the large tract of land.
The work includes removal of all contaminated materials in preparation for the new social services building and construction of a new parking lot to replace the existing lot on the northwest corner of the site.
Of note, 19 companies bid on the project, with the highest tender coming in at almost $1.1 million.
In his report to council, senior technologist Terry Koning warns, however, “while there has been extensive environmental analysis on the site, there is not a 100% guarantee of the contaminants that may be present. Upon awarding this contract, the City would be bound to complete the value of the contract as a minimum. Should the quantities exceed the contract value, a determination will be made to estimate the cost to complete the remediation to 100% of the entire block.”
In other words, there is a probability the cleanup cost could be much higher.
City manager Wendell Graves indicated many boreholes were drilled across the site and various contaminants were found, not inconsistent with the south end of the property having been railway lands.
And the current state of the site is based on “best intelligence . . . it has been thoroughly analyzed,” said Graves.
Much of the works entails removal of two to three feet of cinders.
“But we do know there is one spot right in the centre of the site where there was historically some petroleum byproducts. So there is a little hot spot that we know about,” added Graves.
And he reminded the cleanup cost is now for the entire block and not just the area of Phase 1, bordering Talbot Street.
There is no set start date for cleanup, however the firm has a two-month work window with a completion date of no later than some time in June.
“We’re still hoping to have a tendering contract (for construction) in front of council in April, with construction (on Phase 1) to start in June,” advised Graves.
FOR REAL THIS TIME?
A ray of hope on the horizon for the Alma College property?
At the Feb. 20 reference committee meeting at city hall, council will hear a presentation from representatives of a development company which, according to the agenda, is interested in “a project relating to the former Alma College site.”
No other details included on the agenda, so we contacted Gino Reale, the London developer involved with the property who, last August, told this corner “There have been a lot of positive discussions. We’re getting close to some resolutions. But nothing has been inked.”
Speaking to Reale on Thursday, he acknowledged he has had discussion with a group out of Toronto about a potential residential undertaking on part of the property.
The Moore Street property is zoned for high-rise residential development.
While Reale couldn’t elaborate, he did indicate the group is interested in incorporating a replica of the facade of the main Alma building into the proposed plan.
“The original plan with the Zubicks (the Zubick family of London who previously owned the property) called for a seven- or nine-storey building on that site.”
Should the city not approve the development for whatever reason, Reale says he is willing to step in because, “if anybody can pull it off, I can.”
One encouraging sign is the Toronto developers have an appreciation of Alma’s impact on the city, according to Reale.
“They’re ready to put a shovel in the ground ASAP.”
Are we about to finally turn the corner on the site of the former school for girls?
YEAH OR NAY TO FIRE MEDICS
We referenced last week that city council is being asked to endorse a resolution of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) urging the province to protect unwilling communities from being forced by arbitrators to adopt a fire medic pilot project or program.
With members seeking further input, new St. Thomas fire chief Bob Davidson has submitted a report to council for the Feb. 20 meeting.
He is advising the city support the core position of the AMO resolution, noting “there are no adverse implications for the City of St. Thomas.”
Davidson notes, “There are no certified, practicing paramedics employed by the St. Thomas Fire Department.”
And, he points out since there is a lack of evidence in support of a fire-medic model, “then that is an argument for the establishment of the pilot projects, complete with rigorous data collection and statistical analysis to establish the Canadian evidence for or against the fire-medic model.”
Davidson also refers to the AMO concern regarding 24-hour shifts in effect at some fire departments in the province.
“Not all career fire departments work 24 hour shifts. The evidence supports that long shifts and fatigue, while caring for patients, causes harm.”
Davidson concludes his report by reminding, “the delivery of EMS services is coordinated by the County of Elgin here in St. Thomas, while the city augments medical response through a fire department-tiered response protocol. This is activated for specific medical issues and when an ambulance is delayed.”
So again, it will come down to who on council will support the AMO resolution.
MAKIN’ IT HAPPEN
He made it into Lap 127 last year before being sidetracked in a crash involving Jamie McMurray and Jimmie Johnson. For the 60th running of the Daytona 500 tomorrow (Feb. 18), D.J. Kennington of St. Thomas is looking to dodge any trouble and cross the finish line.
For his second crack at what he calls the “grand-daddy” of all stock car races, Kennington will be starting from the number 30 position, alongside Justin Marks and right behind Danica Patrick.
And a couple of big names will be starting off the grid behind Kennington. Brad Keselowski is in Row 16 and Johnson is in Row 18.
Up on the front row, it’s Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin.
It will be a distinctly Canadian team backing the #96 Toyota of Gaunt Brothers Racing. Owner Marty Gaunt is an Ontario native.
British Columbia-based Lordco Auto Parts and Castrol (Wakefield Canada), a longtime Kennington partner, will co-sponsor the Daytona effort.
Prior to his Daytona 500 debut last February, we talked to D.J. to get the back story on him becoming the first Canadian to compete in the Daytona 500 in 29 years.
“I was working with the team I drove for in Phoenix, they were trying to put a deal together to run in Daytona. They ended up getting a deal with Michael Waltrip to drive their car and they were going to take a second car and the deal was they wanted me to drive the second car. They found a second car which was a Toyota.
“They needed to find an engine package for the Toyota and I know Marty Gaunt really well at Triad Technologies (a Toyota engine-building company in North Carolina), which is the guy I’m running for now. I called him looking for an engine, thinking if we’ve got a good engine and they’ve got a good car, we can make this all happen.”
Well happen it did, but not as originally intended.
“Marty and I ended up talking and he said I’ve got something coming down the line for you real shortly. And it just kinda all fell into place. I called Marty looking to get an engine from him and next thing you know I’m driving his car and we have Lordco and Castrol as sponsors and away we go.”
ON THE CALENDAR
All Breed Canine Rescue and Global Pet Foods present a Microchip Clinic tomorrow (Feb. 18) from noon to 2 p.m. at 900 Talbot Street in St. Thomas. Call 519-207-3663 to book an appointment. Walk-ins accepted based on availability.
The fifth annual Railway City Arts Crawl is Feb. 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. and Feb. 24, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The celebration of local arts and culture will take place at various venues. For full details, visit Railway City Arts Crawl
Transit fares increase on March 1. Cash fare goes to $2.75; adult booklet of 10 tickets is now $22.50 while seniors, students and children over 5 pay $16.50; an adult monthly pass is $70 with seniors, students and children over 5 charged $60.
Questions and comments may be emailed to: City Scope
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