Market study recommends more retail in downtown core; revitalization of Elgin Mall


city_scope_logo-cmykIn the period 2000 to 2015, St. Thomas experienced an almost three-fold increase in vacant commercial retail space. That’s one of the key findings in a 2015 retail market study to be presented to council Monday.
The study, undertaken by Dillon Consulting and W. Scott Morgan & Associates, sought to “analyse the ability of the city’s commercial policy framework to support the health of its retail market, while identifying the evolving retail market trends that may affect St. Thomas.”
The city has 2.46 million square feet of retail commercial space – an increase of 15 per cent since 2007 – but in that total, 313,000 square feet is vacant, up from 114,000 in the year 2000.

Continue reading

Can the Burstein boys of Brampton breathe life back into Elgin Mall?


city_scope_logo-cmykConsidered the poor cousin of enclosed shopping malls by its previous owner OneREIT, Elgin Mall has wonderful potential according to the small, family owned real estate investment company that acquired the 263,000-square-foot property last month.

Brothers Jay and Mory Burstein are adamant their intention is not to demolish the retail centre that first opened in 1975.

“Our goal is to try and lease the vacant space as quickly as possible and try to make this mall the vibrant place it once was,” Jay assured in an interview this week.

An optimistic game plan for a mall that is operating at a roughly 50 per cent vacancy rate. Continue reading

The stories behind the homelessness stories


city_scope_logo-cmyk
Following a longer than he would have liked winter hiatus, homeless advocate Jason McComb is ready to pick them up and lay them down as he resumes his cross-Canada trek in aid of the homeless.
Long before the sun breaks through on June 1, Jason will be on the road to Tillsonburg and on to Brantford, Hamilton, Oshawa and then north to Orillia for a musical interlude with Matchbox 20 front man Rob Thomas, who is performing a solo gig at Casino Rama on June 11.
Thomas has been a positive influence in Jason’s life and the promise of a ticket waiting at the door was enough to warrant tweaking his route to accommodate this side trip.
“Through his band and through his music he has gotten me through so much,” Jason advises. “He’s had a tough life.” Continue reading

The Horton Farmers Market is a wonderful success story – now let’s build on that momentum


The following guest editorial is from Bruce Stewart of Troy Media. The original version can be found here

A community guide to creating jobs . . . all it takes is one old building of a reasonable size with a number of merchants to share the space

Shelley Holmes, chairwoman of the board for the St. Thomas Horton Farmers’ Market polishes up their sandwhich board for the season opening of the market this Saturday at 8 a.m. until 12 noon. The market operates every Saturday until the end of October.

TORONTO, ON – “Where are the jobs?” That’s a comment you can hear over coffee from one end of Canada to the other. We look at our children and wonder where they’ll work. We look at those of us forced into early retirement because of closures and layoffs and wonder the same for ourselves.

A little creativity is all that’s required, and we’ll have lots of work for everyone.

Major employers are nice to have: it’s why town and city councils constantly vote to provide incentives to attract them. The trouble is that major employers don’t have the same commitment to the community and its future as local employers do. So how do we make more local opportunity?
Continue reading

Debate brews anew over corner-store sale of beer, wine


city_scope_logo-cmyk

The debate over alcohol sales in convenience stores is once again brewing with the release of a petition from the Ontario Convenience Stores Association containing in excess of 112,000 signatures calling for the availability of wine and beer in corner stores.
The petition is supported by a Facebook campaign launched last year by the OCSA and its CEO, Dave Bryans, which can be found here.
This corner talked to Bryans on several occasions last year and he points out corner stores in more than 200 Ontario communities too small to support an LCBO outlet or a Beer Store now are authorized to sell alcohol.
It is worth noting the latter are owned by Labatt Brewing Company Ltd., Molson Coors Canada and Sleeman Breweries Ltd., with the first two conglomerates owned by multinationals InBev and Interbrew respectively.

Continue reading

Watermain break the least of the worries at STEGH?


city_scope_logo-cmyk

It’s been a trying seven days for the administration at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital.

A week ago Friday, the hospital was the victim of a watermain break that forced a shutdown of water to the west wing of the facility, which includes the emergency department.

Hospital spokeswoman Cathy Fox alerted the Times-Journal to the situation shortly after the break was discovered.
Continue reading

Exposing the Inner Workings of the Contraband Tobacco Industry


C-Stores Association Visits St. Thomas to Expose
the Inner Workings of the Contraband Tobacco Industry in Ontario

Close to 350 smoke shacks in Ontario and Quebec are making it virtually impossible for legitimate convenience store retailers to compete in the sale of tobacco products. Every other day, an Ontario convenience store closes its doors.

The Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) is “raising the roof” on smoke shacks by inviting media to the St. Thomas stop of a 25-city Ontario tour aimed at educating the public about the inner workings of the contraband tobacco industry and the huge economic and social implications that illicit tobacco has on both Native and non-native communities.
Continue reading