Gated Alma College development will ‘contribute to the wellbeing of the greater St. Thomas community’

city_scope_logo-cmykIt’s official, the residential development proposed for the Alma College property will be a gated community, but there will be no similarity to large undertakings of the same nature south of the border.
That’s according to a letter from developer Michael Loewith, whose Patriot Properties is seeking to begin construction of a three-tower project on the Moore Street property.
The letter and several updated supporting documents are in response to questions and concerns raised at a site plan committee meeting held Nov. 13.
In his clarification letter, to be presented with the other reports at the next site plan committee meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday (Dec. 12), Loewith responds to questions relating to public access to the 11-acre site and, in particular, the amphitheatre.
Loewith writes, “While we attempted to provide a clear response regarding these concerns at the meeting, we may not have been as descriptive about our plans as we would have like, and so we are providing this letter to make our intentions clear.”

Loewith points out his proposed development is on private property.
“Patriot Properties has an interest in providing the future residents of the site with a degree of privacy and security, so some restrictions on public access are planned.”
He continues, “those who are not residents or guests of residents may be asked to leave at any time if the management or residents feel the peaceful and exclusive enjoyment of the property are being adversely affected by non-residents.

Patriot Properties new proposal

An artist’s rendition of the new Patriot Properties proposal for the Alma College property.

“There is an expectation that portions of it, much like the front yards of single-family homes and townhouses, will serve as ‘semi-private public spaces.'”
For increased security, Loewith stresses “night-time access to the site will be further limited by electronically locking the gates on the pedestrian access points.”
As for the amphitheatre, it is to be restored and protected from damage and, as such, Loewith is requesting it be designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

“The proposed development will be a part of, and contribute to the wellbeing of the greater St. Thomas community.”

Since it is planned to be used as an event venue, Loewith confirms “Anyone will be able to book the amphitheatre space through the property management office.
“Fees charged for bookings are expected to cover the costs associated with maintaining and operating the amphitheatre . . .”
Loewith concludes, “the former Alma College property cannot function in the same way that a public park does.
“There will be little similarity between the proposed development and the large gated communities popular in parts of the U.S. which can include their own schools and shopping amenities.
“The proposed development will be a part of, and contribute to the wellbeing of the greater St. Thomas community.”
The site plan committee meeting is open to the public and will be held in Room 304 at city hall.

Related post:

Casting a shadow over development of Alma College property


At Monday’s council meeting, members will be asked to consider a requirement that all tobacco retailers be licensed and pay an annual licence fee.


The request comes from Sarah Cruickshank on behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society.
She notes such a fee would generate revenue for the municipality; assist with who is selling tobacco products in the community; ensure responsibility on the part of retailers, and revenue generated from the fees can offset municipal costs related to enforcement and litter.
Cruickshank continues, “retailers selling electronic cigarettes should also be required to pay an annual fee, as Hamilton and London have required.”
Municipalities which have established annual licensing fees include Hamilton ($637), London ($277), Windsor ($191) and, at the low end of the fee structure, Cornwall ($40).
Ontario and Alberta are the only provinces to have such a licensing fee requirement.


The new council has yet to sit down for its first formal meeting – that is scheduled for Monday (Dec. 10) – and yet format changes are already in the works.
Beginning sometime in January, regularly scheduled council meetings will revert back to their 7 p.m. start time with reference committee meetings commencing at 6 p.m.
City clerk Maria Konefal explains, “We have to provide notice because we have to change the procedural bylaw. So, we will be providing notice at this meeting or the next meeting of council and the time will be changing as of January.”
That does not mean, continues Konefal, late nights in the council chamber as was often the case in the past.
“The way we have the reference committee structured,” points out Konefal, “people get a little bit more information about all the topics, so there doesn’t need to be as much discussion by the time it finally comes forward (to council).
“I think that’s why they’re (meetings) not as long this time. Yes, we’ve got the reports on (the agenda) but it’s not the first time council will have heard the topic. That’s why we are able to streamline it (meetings). I know before, to get out before 10 p.m. was a miracle.”
preston inaugurationjpgSo, what prompted the later start on Mondays?
“It was in conversation with all of council,” advises Mayor Joe Preston. “I think the reference committee piece has been working very, very well. But it started so early in the day, many people didn’t think they were open (to the public).
“So I thought if we can keep the good part of what is working and make it so transparency is more apparent then we win. Let’s try it for a few months and see if this does work. And reference committee will meet before council.
Preston stresses this is for those who have to work all day so they can come and see council if they want.
“This is a choice of council so let’s try this . . . and if this doesn’t work there is something else that does. The meetings haven’t been going that long, so starting an hour later certainly isn’t going to be onerous on anyone.
“The public has said, ‘We’d like to come see you, can you make it a little easier,’ and we said yes.”
Remember, this change in start time will not come into effect until the new year.


She was officially sworn in this past Monday, and now we understand Lori Baldwin-Sands may have wasted little time in filing her nomination papers as she attempts, once again, to represent Elgin-Middlesex-London as the Liberal candidate in next year’s federal vote.
So, as we wrote back in August, it’s 2011 all over again.
baldwin-sandsThat was the year then-alderman Baldwin-Sands took a leave of absence to run as the Liberal candidate in the provincial election.
She not only lost, but she was also humiliated by first-time PC candidate Jeff Yurek.
She returned to the council chamber at city hall after falling 8,700 votes shy of a victory.
Having failed to digest the message sent to her by voters, Baldwin-Sands ran for the Liberals in the 2015 federal election where she endured another embarrassing defeat, this time to Karen Vecchio.
The Liberal riding association is to hold their nomination meeting in January and it would be difficult to comprehend the membership elevating Baldwin-Sands to candidate status once again.
When it’s the seventh and deciding game of the Stanley Cup final, you don’t give the nod to the goalie who got blown out in the first two games of the series.
Lori, forget the photo ops with Justin Trudeau, you are not a bit player in some rock star video. Do the job you have just been elected to do by representing the ratepayers of St. Thomas.
Karen Vecchio is capably representing the residents of Elgin-Middlesex-London at the federal level.
It’s not too late to escape this fantasy world, return to reality and, in the process, save yourself from a third ballot box beat down.

Related post:

Alma College facade a non-starter; will the amphitheatre now be off limits to the community?

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