Earlier this week we wrote briefly on Joe Preston’s entry into the St. Thomas mayor’s race, joining Steve Wookey and Malachi Male, who already had declared their intention. So, how does Preston’s announcement impact the mayoralty campaign and, if elected, what does he bring to the council chamber? “The mix on council right now, I know I can work with them,” offers Preston. “I know most of them and I have met with almost all of them while I made my decision. I’ve learned I can work with pretty diverse groups. “I come to this with a little bit different credentials than others. I put my risks where my mouth is and have gone out and created jobs in this community. I’ve been a community activist involved in a lot of other projects in the community. “But others come with their own credentials and life skills that can make a good team work.” Continue reading →
Residents of St. Thomas and Elgin are being “shortchanged” on physiotherapy services, charges Elgin-Middlesex-London Conservative MPP Jeff Yurek. He stood up in the Ontario Legislature this week to question the Kathleen Wynne government on the closing of MobilityFit Physiotherapy in St. Thomas, one of only two such services in the city funded through OHIP. Yurek alleges both the Southwest Local Health Integration Network (SW LHIN) and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care have “refused to act on the impending loss of service.” Yurek added, “When contacted for a status update, both the SW LHIN and ministry responded with the same talking points. Neither would state whether or not the clinic is closing.” Continue reading →
We picked up the cause last week of a Lambton Shores woman whose father was a resident of Walnut Manor, an independent supportive living home in St. Thomas. In 2014, we documented the plight of the 14 residents of the Walnut Street facility who were being served such culinary delights as what was called pasta salad, consisting of macaroni and salad dressing. Or chicken wieners served on plain white bread for lunch. An advocate for the residents at the time, lawyer Elena Dempsey, described the situation in this fashion. “They run out of food and when they run out of food they concoct the most bizarre meals. I was told of one meal that consisted of spaghetti with instant mashed potatoes on top and mushroom soup poured on top of it.” Mmmmm, nothing says satisfying like chef’s surprise. Continue reading →
The first of three 2017 budget meetings was held Monday at city hall with the second in the series on tap this coming Monday at 4 p.m. where the focus will shift to proposed capital projects and grants.
The 2017 draft budget requires a municipal tax levy increase of 3.44 per cent. However when you factor in an additional $41 million in residential assessment, that reduces the proposed levy to a 2.32 per cent increase.
Proposed capital projects this year total $36.3 million in expenditures. Continue reading →
With mere days remaining before St. Thomas Cemetery Company seeks to abandon its two burying grounds if a $59,000 grant is not reinstated, there was some movement following an in-camera meeting of council Monday.
“The general tone of council is to try and work toward a resolution or recipe that is amicable for everyone,” CAO Wendell Graves told the Times-Journal on Tuesday.
“And so our solicitor was given direction to correspond with the cemetery board’s solicitor.”
In addition, Coun. Gary Clarke volunteered to sit on the cemetery board after council chose not to appoint a representative for the first time since 1990.
“I volunteered,” indicated Clarke. “I want to be part of the solution and not the problem. I want this to work in the best interests of everyone and not at the taxpayers’ expense.” Continue reading →
The Jan. 19 council meeting in which Part 1 of the 2015 capital budget was unanimously approved is undeniable validation a new home for the St. Thomas Police Service did not play a significant role in the 2014 municipal campaign.
Members of council were united in committing $13 million to construct a purpose-built structure immediately west of the Timken Centre. It should be noted Coun. Jeff Kohler was absent from the vote due to a personal family matter.
In a presentation that evening by The Ventin Group, given direction by council to undertake the tendering process, a Class B cost estimate of $10.6 million for construction of the single-storey building was tabled.
A far cry from projections of up to $30 million floated in some corners during the bitter October election campaign. Continue reading →
With 19 hopefuls in the running to fill seven seats on St. Thomas council, it’s difficult to get a read on all of the candidates when there are few opportunities to gather them in one venue.
The first all-candidates meeting for the Oct. 27 municipal vote was held Wednesday at the Knights of Columbus Hall and it afforded the 150 or so in attendance an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the individuals seeking to represent St. Thomas residents for the next four-year term of council.
The five minutes allotted to present their sales pitch affords little in the way of meaningful insight into how each of the candidates intends to serve their constituents.
As a recap — and for those unable or uninterested in attending the meeting — here is the first of a two-part thumbnail summary of each candidate’s presentation. They appear in the order established by organizers of Wednesday’s event. Ken Boe: He stressed the need to work strategically with all stakeholders in the city and tourism is an economic opportunity that needs to be capitalized upon. Council and city staff have to focus on customer service and St. Thomas needs to benchmark itself against other municipalities. Continue reading →