Gone fishin’!


gone fishingjpgCity Scope is taking a short break over the civic holiday long weekend but we will be back on diligent duty Tuesday. After all, we need to know what lies ahead in the immediate future for the Sutherland Press building.

And, what is contained in a two-year-old Ontario Works proposed site location report the city will not make public? This corner has been denied access to the report through two separate freedom of information requests. It’s the same report Coun. Jeff Kohler sought to bring into open session at the June meeting of council in order to reveal the true cost of renovating the old police headquarters in the Colin McGregor Justice Building.

Remember Barbara Arbuckle? Whatever happened to the former director of Ontario Works? We’ll update a story from one year ago on why she is still on the staff directory at city hall but hasn’t been on the job for years.

If your busy summer has kept you from visiting this corner of late, below are links to the three most recent posts.

Enjoy the long weekend!

No throwing caution to the wind in this chapter of the Sutherland Saga

Silently pointing the way atop St. Thomas Elevated Park

What was once forgotten, is now lost

 

 

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After nine years, it’s time to pony up and listen


After nine years of legal wrangling, a bevy of engineering reports, much dizzying debate over semantics and hair-splitting, we finally have a definitive answer from on high.
The Sutherland Press building is unsafe. That’s the determination of Justice Peter Hockin handed down this week along with confirmation building orders issued in 2015 and 2016 have been confirmed as valid.
All right, but now what?
City manager Wendell Graves advised the next step for the city is consultation with legal counsel John Sanders, but “In the absence of any action by the owner, the city will want to make the area safe again as soon as possible.” Continue reading

Nine years after the fire, a brick from Alma College initiates healing for Ivan Zinn


Vilified for his role in the blaze that hastened the demise of iconic Alma College in St. Thomas, nine years later a shadow has been lifted from Ivan Zinn’s past.
On May 28, 2008, Zinn and a fellow Arthur Voaden Secondary School student scrambled through a back window into Alma College where they set fire to a mattress found under a stairwell, little expecting “all hell to break loose” as described by a member of the St. Thomas Police Service during a taped interview.
Just 15 at the time he and the co-accused were charged with arson and on Sept. 24, 2009, Justice Donald Ebbs sentenced them to two years probation, the maximum allowed under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. In addition, they were to undertake 240 hours of community work.

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Wind turbine noise complaints proof province is ‘kowtowing to their corporate buddies’ – Dutton Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines


A coalition of groups and individuals concerned about the proliferation of industrial wind turbines is calling on the province to halt the approval process for new projects and develop and enforce new, tougher noise standards.
In a media release issued today (May 31) Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) claimed the Kathleen Wynne government has failed to respond to thousands of wind turbine noise complaints.
And locally, a spokesperson for ratepayers opposed to proceeding with a wind turbine project in Dutton/Dunwich said it’s further proof the province is “kowtowing to . . . their corporate buddies.”

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Sutherland hostages handed a small legal triumph


There haven’t been many in the past decade, however on Monday the city received word of a small victory in the Sutherland saga.
City manager Wendell Graves informed council a panel of three appeal court justices ruled in the city’s favour, advising a lower court erred in its determination last September that a notice issued in March of 2016 warning of demolition of the four-storey structure for failure to comply with a previous work order was null and void.

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New life for an old St. Thomas foot path


The city’s newest trail project may very well involve one of the older, well-established foot paths in St. Thomas.

At Monday’s reference committee meeting, city council was apprised of the Owaissa Trail project connecting Hiawatha Street to Athletic Park and then continuing on to St. George Street.
owaissa trailjpg

Existing path looking eastward from Athletic Park clubhouse

The short-cut to Athletic Park has been in use for decades, most notably by Arthur Voaden Secondary School teams to quickly get from the school to games at the sports fields.
“It’s a very, very well used trail,” advised Ross Tucker, director of parks, recreation and property management.
The move to formally create a trail was prompted by queries about ownership of land in the area and liability issues.
The plan is to create a three-metre wide asphalt path down from Hiawatha Street to the clubhouse area at Athletic Park and then through the parking area up to St. George Street. The cost is estimated at $180,000, which does not include any possible land purchases.
The route includes a storm sewer easement which the city does not own.
When asked about steepness of the trail and ease of use for those with accessibility issues, director of environmental services Justin Lawrence indicated the grade would be in the six to eight per cent range.
Coun. Steve Wookey questioned whether the trail would be lighted, to which Tucker responded, “We’re not entertaining any lighting, at least yet.”
A staff report will be presented to council later this fall, with cost of the trail to be included in the 2018 capital budget.
Questions and comments may be emailed to: City Scope

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Fate of Sutherland Press building remains in a holding pattern


Not unlike the two combatants, a panel of three appeal court justices failed Wednesday to make any significant headway in the eight-year standoff that is the Sutherland Saga.
The nearly three-hour hearing held at Toronto’s Osgoode Hall dealt with the city’s appeal of a decision handed down September 27 of last year by Justice Kelly Gorman, who determined a notice issued in March of last year warning of demolition of the four-storey structure for failure to comply with a previous work order was null and void.

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