Well a pair of Steves kicked off the 2018 municipal electoral race, on opening day no less. That would be Steve Wookey, in his bid for the mayor’s seat after one term on council and Steve Peters, in a city hall comeback effort.
Both filed their nomination papers early Tuesday.
You have to love Wookey’s assertion he has the endorsement of all members of the present council. Of course, that would be with the exception of sitting mayor Heather Jackson, who has basically been handed a vote of no confidence by councillors.
Wookey has been pushing for a complete overhaul of the city’s transit system, likely a popular move with those who shun the bus but a bitter pill for those who rely on a traditional service, including low-income users and students.
At a reference meeting last November, Wookey suggested scrapping the bus system entirely and going to on-demand transit using taxi and Uber-type operations.
That could prove a daunting proposition with the city having just inked a two-year contract extension with transit provider Voyageur and a route and service review planned prior to tendering a new five-year contract in 2019.
For Peters, if elected, it would be a return to where it all began 30 years ago.
In a conversation last month, Peters suggested delving into the relationship between the city and the county.
“Now whether that is focussed in a little more on Central Elgin or Southwold, I’m not sure on that,” advised Peters.
“If nothing else, we need to take a look at the relationship,” he continued. “Whether it is homes for seniors or libraries or arenas or economic development or tourism, we’ve got two of everything.
“I’m not advocating for something like a Chatham-Kent. I think there are certain areas where we need to find some common ground. Like industrial land, we have to have that available to us. My sense is we don’t have a huge bank of industrial land.”
A third individual also threw their hat in the ring this past week.
Petrusia Hontar has been heavily involved with the St. Thomas-Elgin Local Immigration Partnership as a project coordinator and their Moving Forward event, a celebration of diversity in the city and county.
She is seeking to sit as a councillor.
Three names are now on the Thames Valley District School Board trustee list: incumbents James Todd and Chris Goodall along with Meagan Ruddock.
The nomination period runs through to 2 p.m. on July 27.
Nominations must be submitted in person or by an agent, and must be accompanied with the filing fee of $200 if running for mayor or $100 if seeking the office of councillor or trustee. Nominations for an office on council must be endorsed by at least 25 eligible voters.
Nomination forms and election information is available on the city’s website
For Steve Peters, his focus is on city hall once again
HEALTH UNIT MERGER UPDATE
The health units in Elgin/St. Thomas and Oxford officially become Southwestern Public Health on May 1. The aim of the new body – to serve approximately 204,000 residents – “is to enhance programs and services by pooling resources, allowing public health to better respond to the unique needs of their small urban and large rural communities,” according to a release from Tommasina Conte at Oxford County Public Health.
And at the May 7 meeting, Southwestern Public Health CEO Cynthia St. John and Lynn Beath, director of Oxford County Public Health, will appear before city council to update members on progress to date and the new organization’s priorities.
Apart from a couple of senior administration retirements on the Oxford side, there has been no mention anywhere of cost efficiencies and a possible cost benefit analysis, as proposed by Dutton Dunwich Mayor Cameron McWilliam at the April 10 meeting of Elgin county council.
At that same meeting, Wiehle advised any savings will not be immediate, but will be benefits in the long term.
TEMPORARY NO LONGER
Deemed unsafe and closed to traffic last November, the Bailey bridge installed at Dalewood Dam as a temporary structure in 1983 at a cost of $35,000 will soon be but a memory.
City council on Monday (May 7) will be asked to approve the winning tender to replace the structure with a new, two-lane bridge featuring a multi-use path incorporated into the design at an approximate cost of $5.1 million.
McLean Taylor Construction Limited of St. Marys was the low tender bid.
According to their website the firm, established in 1960, “specializes in the heavy civil construction of bridges, culverts, road construction, buildings and warehouses. McLean Taylor Construction has experience working for a number of different owners including municipal governments, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and private industry.”
The firm worked on the Sunset Drive bridge rehabilitation project in 2015.
The new Dalewood bridge is expected to be completed and open to traffic in June of next year.
PRESERVING OUR HERITAGE
Thanks to Serge Lavoie at the St. Thomas-Elgin branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario for the heads up on their 6th annual ACO Heritage Awards coming up Tuesday, May 8, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Princess Avenue Playhouse in St. Thomas.
The awards are open to the public and admission is free.
The branch will celebrate four achievements in built heritage preservation, one talented heritage tradesman, a heritage conservation effort by a municipality and the work of two noted and dedicated heritage advocates.
Recipients in the Heritage Award category are:
* Henry Krugsman for his Dutch Baroque Revival house at 77 Forest Avenue in St. Thomas.
* John and Marion Jackson for their pair of commercial buildings at 763-767 Talbot Street in St. Thomas. It was formerly the American Hotel, built in 1878 and now is the home of Streamliner Cafe.
* Leah Morise and Mike Bourgeault for their re-imagining of the Fingal United Church – built in 1879 – into a combination residence and House of Harmony music space.
* Joseph Sawicki and Heather Robinson for their “sensitive and respectful opening” of the art shop Gathered, formerly the Hiram Burley Tailor Shop in Sparta, built in 1846.
A Built Heritage Conservation and Heritage Practitioner Award to Trevor Hounsell of West Lorne for his important work in the region as a heritage mason.
A Heritage Advocacy award to the Dutton Dunwich Cultural Heritage Committee for its quick response in identifying and undertaking steps to preserve the heritage properties in that municipality.
And individual recognition to Don Cosens, for his lifetime of collecting and preserving the heritage artifacts and stories of St. Thomas and County of Elgin communities; and
posthumously to Wayne Paddon for “his lifetime of heritage education that helped promote the importance of our shared history in St. Thomas and Elgin county.”
Judges reviewed nominations in three basic categories: Individuals or organizations in the fields of education, awareness and advocacy; heritage practitioners such as architects, craftsmen and builders; built heritage conservation of either an entire building or specific heritage features.
FOR THE CALENDAR
Drop by the City Animal Services Centre at 100 Burwell Road in St. Thomas tomorrow (May 6) for the Pet Licence Tag Promotion open house. You can purchase a pet tag at a discounted price and learn about the city’s “First Ride Home is Free” program. More information here.
Questions and comments may be emailed to: City Scope
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