Land-use planner warns St. Thomas is suffering from ‘sign disease’


city_scope_logo-cmykIt was a sign of what lies ahead for city staff in St. Thomas. An overview of the proposed 2017 advertising sign bylaw ran into stiff opposition at this week’s reference committee meeting.
Amendments to the existing bylaw to deal with portable signs in the downtown core faced vocal opposition from more than two dozen small businesses and area sign companies.
The bylaw would prohibit portable advertising signs in the downtown business area and limit them to one per commercial lot outside the core and three per industrial lot.
A-board signs would still be permitted but would have to come in off the sidewalk at the end of the day.
It’s a restriction similar to what’s in place in London and Sarnia.

Continue reading

Advertisements

A return to core business or fire sale at Ascent?


city_scope_logo-cmyk
Couldn’t help but notice this week the Ascent office/workshop on Harper Rd. was not only for sale, but now had a ‘sold’ sign out front.
Seems odd in that the media were invited out to that same location earlier this year to get a first-hand look at the projects undertaken at the former ECM Controls, purchased by St. Thomas Energy in November, 2010.
At that time, ECM Controls employed 10 people who designed and built industrial controls. As shareholder and owner of St. Thomas Holding (the parent company), city council unanimously green-lighted the move, asking no questions nor providing comment on the move.
So what happened in the intervening five years? Continue reading

McGuinty has led us all down the green energy garden path


Guest editorial from Ross McKitrick that appeared in the Stratford Beacon Herald. Original piece can be read here.

Anyone remember the Sprung Greenhouse fiasco? In 1987, Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford attempted to boost local employment by subsidizing the building of a massive hydroponic greenhouse operation that its inventor, Philip Sprung, said would turn the province into a world leader in green produce. His plan had failed in Alberta, but in Peckford he found a gullible partner willing to abandon common sense and start signing over other people’s money.

During the construction phase the premier pointed with pride to the hundreds of jobs apparently created. Meanwhile the province kept signing cheques and promising that cucumbers and economic renewal were on the way in equal measure.
Continue reading

You can thank Dalton McGuinty for feeling warm and fuzzy about your St. Thomas Energy bill


From the Toronto Star, original article can be found here

Ontario’s Liberal government is forcing utilities to tout the 10 per cent electricity discount on hydro bills every month for the next five years, the Star has learned.

Over the next few weeks, millions of households, farms, and small businesses will begin receiving the new “Ontario Clean Energy Benefit” on their monthly hydro bills.

The measure is designed to offset an expected 46 per cent increase in electricity costs in the coming five years.
Continue reading

Despite bubbles, governments keep pumping air into alternative energy


While investment analysts are telling their clients to get out of solar power firms and warning about the continuing risks in wind and bioenergy schemes, Ottawa and the provinces are on a mad populist stampede to throw billions of dollars at the green energy monster. The politicians don’t seem to be keeping up with the trends. “Don’t try to catch a falling knife,” warned J.P. Morgan this week in a report that told investors the market continues to fall out of the solar panel module market. It downgraded a bunch of solar companies that have already been in a tailspin since the fist signs of a solar crash back in 2008.

Other alternative energy sectors are hitting walls. Jurisdictions with wind power regimes face continuing issues related to the fact that the wind often doesn’t blow much, turning investments in wind farms into cash-draining albatrosses. In Ontario, the 1,100 megawatts of built wind turbine capacity are often running a few megawatts at a time, and even on the best of days have trouble producing 150 megawatts.
Full story

What happens when politics displaces market forces in green energy initiatives?



When driving through Don Quixote country in Spain’s Castille-La Mancha region, you are dazzled by the spectacle of wind farms proudly churning out the energy that will save Iberia and the planet, followed, once you cross into Andalusia, by solar farms and the green jobs of the future.

Except that if things continue as they are in Spain, the world’s poster child for renewable fuel, wind and solar energy may not save us after all — or renew the capitalist economy.
Full story

Canada’s Largest Solar Farm Opens in Ontario


Stone Mills Project Helps Province Become North American Solar Leader
TORONTO–(Business Wire)–
Canada’s largest solar farm is now producing power in the township of Stone
Mills, near Napanee – paving the way for Ontario to become a solar power leader
in North America.

This new green energy supply will help support Ontario’s elimination of dirty,
coal-fired generation, which is Canada’s single largest climate change
initiative. With two more large solar projects expected to come on line by the
end of 2009, Ontario will join the elite ranks of North America’s leaders in
installed solar capacity.

First Light Solar Park – currently the largest-scale commercial solar farm
operation in Canada – is a joint venture between SkyPower Corp. and SunEdison
Canada. With more than 126,000 solar panels spanning across 90 acres, this farm
is expected to generate more than 10 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable
electricity in its first year — enough to power 10,000 households.

Full story