Neighbourhood blight to be demolished in favour of seniors’ residence


city_scope_logo-cmykFor several years it was a pot-mark on the Wellington Street landscape. The burned-out hulk of the former Ramada Inn proved such an eyesore, Craig Geerlinks and Adam MacLeod across the street at Geerlinks Home Hardware wrote a letter to council in December 2015 pointing out “The building has been abandoned for more than a few years. We are concerned this blight on the neighbourhood, and the city in general, will continue with no end in sight.”
They concluded their missive with the fact many customers leave the store “having purchased home improvement materials, those customers look across the street and cannot help but be disheartened that their efforts at improving their properties are offset by derelict and abandoned buildings such as this one . . . Out-of-town visitors attending activities at the Timken Arena and railway museum drive past the remnants of this now abandoned building and must wonder about our community spirit.”

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Can a building simply crumble under the weight of engineering reports?


city_scope_logo-cmykIt was a question posed by one of three appeal court justices that cut to the chase in the latest snafu associated with the Sutherland Saga.
Wednesday morning at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, she queried why “a defect in service would make an order null and void.”
Specifically, why would an alleged deficiency in the manner in which Chris Peck, the city’s chief building inspector, delivered a notice to building owner David McGee, warning of demolition of the structure for failure to comply with a previous work order, render it null and void?
Well, that was the determination of Justice Kelly Gorman on Sept. 27 of last year at the Elgin County Courthouse, which let to the city’s appeal of that decision heard last week.

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Police HQ debate set to flare up again


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The debate over whether to renovate the existing police station or construct a new, purpose-built facility will flare into life again Monday as city council deals with a report from The Ventin Group Architects.
The firm will present a pair of options to be considered should council choose to maintain the police service in the Colin McGregor Justice Building.
Trouble is, both scenarios are pricey — $15 million at the low end to $18.4 million for a major renovation/expansion.
The Ventin report details the substantial amount of work required with either option to upgrade the 1969 building.
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Homelessness is a reality in St. Thomas and Elgin


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It is estimated there are between 100 and 300 youth who are homeless at any given time, with a significant portion of these youth staying with friends for the short term.
This depressing picture is lifted from a draft copy of the 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plan for St. Thomas-Elgin developed by a steering committee of city staff and members of social agencies in conjunction with Tim Welch Consulting of Cambridge, Ont.
The report prepared by Elizabeth Sebestyen, the city’s housing services administrator, will be presented to council Monday with a recommendation it adopt the plan which articulates “the community’s long-term vision for the provision of housing and homelessness services over the next ten years, including a system for review and amendments every five years.”
The city is mandated under the province’s Housing Services Act 2011 to have such a plan in place by the end of this year.
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A female role model — she’s right in our own backyard


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A week ago in this corner, we promoted several local individuals for consideration when re-naming Edward Street Public School.

Including Edra Sanders Ferguson, who was the first woman to practise law in St. Thomas, the first woman in the city’s history elected alderman and the first woman to run for mayor.

Now, add to those credentials the Order of Canada, one of our country’s highest civilian honours, which was awarded to Sanders Ferguson on Thursday.

Responding to this honour, she writes, “I was very surprised to receive this prestigious honour as I did not know I had been nominated. I have now learned that it was a young woman who nominated me. I would guess that most nominations are made by the rich and powerful. I am so pleased that a young woman without power or influence would take such an initiative — and be successful.”
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Still waiting – Ontario Health Coalition releases home care report


From opseudiablogue | April 4, 2011

Home care has to be the most tiered health care service in Ontario. Consider that many front line care providers are not on salary, but operating as independent contractors to agencies. The agencies in turn are contracted by the Community Care Access Centres. The Community Care Access Centres sign accountability agreements with the Local Health Integration Networks, which in turn report to the Ministry of Health.

That’s a lot of layers of bureaucracy to facilitate a home care visit.

The Ontario Health Coalition released a new home care report April 4th that suggests about 30 per cent of home care costs are administrative. That may be very conservative.
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Senior population growing, but “boomerangst” over healthcare sustainability may be overblown


OTTAWA, February 22, 2011–A perception exists that healthcare expenditures will rise to unsustainable levels as the proportion of seniors in our population continues to grow, creating concerns about service cuts and/or tax increases. But costs do not increase uncontrollably just because there are more seniors. Research shows that the main drivers of healthcare costs in the years to come will be inflation and technological innovation, not demographics. The myth that
aging is an important cost driver is tackled in the latest issue of the Mythbusters series, published today by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF), entitled “Myth: The aging population is to blame for uncontrollable healthcare costs.”

It’s true that seniors cost the system more per capita than younger people. They are more likely to have multiple chronic conditions, leading to more doctor visits and longer hospital stays, and greater “need” for pharmaceuticals. However, all people with multiple chronic conditions experience this level of need, and all people—old and young alike—in their final years of life tend to cost the system more.
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